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Florida Basketball Rosters World’s Tallest Teenager For Freshman Season

Olivier Rioux
Florida basketball freshman Olivier Rioux. Photo via @Olivier.Rioux on Instagram.

The internet has been buzzing about the Florida basketball program on Wednesday.

The Gators are welcoming in freshman Olivier Rioux, a center from IMG Academy by way of Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada.

The internet’s buzz simply revolves around the fact that Florida has Rioux listed at a whopping 7-foot-9 and 290 pounds. That’s not a typo, either. Rioux stands at 7 feet, 9 inches tall.

In 2021, Guinness World Records listed Rioux as the World’s Tallent Teenager at 7-foot-5.33 when he was just 16 years old. By the time Rioux committed to Florida, he had shot up to 7-foot-7.5.

Born on Feb. 2, 2006, Rioux is still a teenager and will be 18 years old through most of his freshman season with the Gators. While Guinness’s record still has Rioux’s mark at 7-foot-5.33 when he was 16 years old, it feels extremely likely that Rioux is still the world’s tallest teenager listed at 7-foot-9 as an 18-year-old freshman with the Gators.

There’s been some good size in college basketball recently with players such as 7-foot-4 Zach Edey and 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan. Even former Tennessee center Uros Plavsic took it all the way up at 7-foot-1 during his time on Rocky Top.

But Rioux’s near eight-foot build is an unheard-of size for the sport.

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Rioux’s Guinness World Record biography (possibly outdated considering it was made when Rioux was 16) states that his father is 6-foot-8 and his brother is 6-foot-9 while his mother is 6-foot-2.

A graphic from Bleacher Report on Wednesday (we told you the internet was buzzing) states that Rioux “was 6’1″ at eight-years-old.”

According to the Gators’ team website, Rioux averaged 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game across five games while competing in the 2023 U19 FIBA World Cup for Team Canada. While the Canadians never played against Team USA in the summer tournament, the Americans did have former Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka on their own roster before his final season in Knoxville. Awaka hit the portal following Tennessee’s Elite Eight run this year.

While it might not be in the form of a 7-foot-9 center like Florida, Tennessee did bring in a good amount of size through the transfer portal this season with the departures of Awaka and Jonas Aidoo.

The Vols brought in 6-foot-11 center Felix Okpara from Ohio State, 6-foot-10 wing Igor Milicic Jr. from Charlotte, and 6-foot-8 guard Darlinstone Dubar from Hofstra this offseason. Tennessee will return some size next season with 6-foot-11 rising sophomore JP Estrella and 6-foot-9 rising sophomore Cade Phillips.

If Rioux was to hit at some point in his career, he would instantly be the tallest player in NBA history. Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol are the two tallest players in NBA history at 7-foot-7 while Tacko Fall, Yao Ming, and Shawn Bradley land as the only 7-foot-6 players in NBA history.

Tennessee will see Rioux twice during the 2024-2025 regular season, once in Knoxville and once in Gainesville. It’s unclear yet what type of role Rioux will have during his freshman season with the Gators.

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