UCF recruit Tacko Fall of tiny Tavares Liberty Christian was the only player not on the roster for Saturday night’s Florida Association of Basketball Coaches all star game.
But a 7-foot-6 guy doesn’t go unnoticed. Fall, a late addition, was the center of attention for fans who looked on in wonderment, some of whom could be heard trying to guess the height of the one guy whose length was not listed in the program.
“I think he’s more than seven feet,” one astonished youngster said to his dad.
Fall did the things he does best – rebound, dunk and provide a towering defensive presence – in helping the White team outscore the Blue 109-104 in a college-length 40-minute game at Villages Charter School. The native of Senegal had 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.
Fall, completing his second season of organized basketball, can still find himself a step behind quicker opponents. But the gentle giant displayed his increased competitiveness by pulling several rebounds away from other post players, a facet of the game he was weak on as a junior. And he showed dramatically improved stealth on one finish at the rim.
He caught a pass from the right wing 10 feet from the basket and spun to his left with one dribble before flushing one of his six dunks. All of Fall’s field goals were from point-blank range. But he did at least look good on his one mid-range jumper which did not fall.
The native of Senegal in Africa is confident that he can be effective as a UCF freshman.
“I want to help them win the conference,” Fall said. “I know they have the pieces to do it.”
The White team also got 19 points and five dunks from First Academy’s Gerrell Dickson, and 13 points from his high school teammate, Fletcher Magee.
Ocoee’s Grant Riller had 22 points, four dunks and three steals for the Blue. Cortez Edwards of Kissimmee Osceola added 17 points, five rebounds and five steals.
Fall is a skyscraper even when he’s matched up against players like 6-9 Wake Forest signee John Collins and 6-8 UF recruit Noah Dickerson, who played for the Blue squad.
Collins looked to be the most polished and college-ready post player in Saturday’s game. He scored a game-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds. Dickerson grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Two 6-8 UF signees also put up numbers for the White team. Kevarrius Hayes of Live Oak Suwannee had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Keith Stone of Deerfield Beach Ziohn Lutheran, more of a perimeter player, also had 12 points.
Kansas State-bound guard Barry Brown of St. Petersburg Gibbs scored 25 points for Blue.
Colonial teammates Chelsea Johnson and Astaja Tyghter combined for 25 points to help the White win the girls game 116-99. Taylor Emery scored 36, which was her season average for Tampa Freedom.
Seminole’s Carly McLendon had 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocked shots for the Blue.
Buddy Collings is a senior sports writer covering high schools for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at [email protected]