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Monday, October 10, 2011
7-foot-8 Paul Sturgess becomes tallest Globetrotter


They'll call him "Tiny," but … yeah, that's ironic.

Very.

In truth, Paul Sturgess is the tallest Harlem Globetrotter ever -- a 7-foot-8, Englishman who came to America seeking pro basketball and found it in a unique place: as an official member of the club's 2012 rookie class.

"Obviously," Sturgess said, "I'm going to be playing center."

Uh … yeah. Of course, it's no new position for the Globetrotters, who already boast two players 7-feet or taller.

So with camp underway on Long Island, Sturgess said he's fitting right in alongside the veterans, plus such other noted rookies as YouTube dunk sensation Jacob Tucker, Fatima Maddox (the team's ninth female and first since 1993), and Jonte Hall -- who at 5-foot-2 is the club's shortest player ever.

Actually, Sturgess expects to fit in for other reasons. Being so tall, he's used to getting looked at -- and that won't change even while surrounded by spinning basketballs, impressive shots and ballhandling tricks he saw as a kid on TV.

"I'm pretty excited about [the attention]," Sturgess said. "It's a real good family environment, and I look forward to making kids smile."

How long will he remain? Sturgess isn't sure. After averaging just 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 17 games as a senior at Mountain State in West Virginia, the NBA didn't come calling -- but he did say he had offers from Europe that he turned down to join the Globetrotters (who picked him in their draft earlier this year).

"I'm just going to take things as they come because I know I'm going to have such a good time doing this," he said. "I'm just looking forward to seeing the world, and traveling with the team, and just taking in all the experiences that are going to come with doing it."

Here's guessing they -- like him -- will be pretty big.