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June 25, 2014
Big man Fall camps with Florida
Elhadji Tacko Fall has certainly been a prospect discussed often, mostly due to his height - all 7-feet, 5-inches of him.
Rivals.com first saw him play last fall and has watched him play a number of times since.
Fall, a native of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, moved to Houston in October 2012 and now attends Tavares (Fla.) Liberty Christian Prep. After returning from the NBPA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va., Inside the Gators spoke with Fall to find out more about him and his recruiting process.
"The transition to living in America wasn't that bad. I had to adapt to the language, the food, new people, almost everything," Fall said. "I think I've improved a lot since I've arrived, even more than I thought I would. My strength, my confidence and I'm playing better too.
In the classroom, Fall told us the adjustment wasn't as difficult as you might think.
"School is easier here than in my country," said Fall. "I haven't had a lot of problems with academics. I like math, chemistry and biology."
The on-court improvement by the rising senior has been impressive. As recently as February 6th we watched Liberty Christian Prep and Fall seemed to run in slow motion and didn't rebound at the volume you expect from a 7-foot-5 player. The next time we saw Fall with his Each One Teach One (E1T1) AAU team in early April, his footwork was improved, his motor and rebounding was better and he was playing with much more confidence. Something he credits to his AAU program.
"It has been a big adjustment," Fall said of playing AAU ball. "It has helped me with my development a lot. Better competition and better coaching. We won a couple of tournaments and we qualified for the Peach Jam."
E1T1 Elite head coach Steve Reece broke down Fall.
"Tacko Fall has the desire and work ethic to be great," Reece said. "He's a kid that comes to practice ready to learn and improve each time. He's always the first one there and the last one to leave. He's a great kid to be around too."
For the past several months, Fall has worked out at a nearby boxing gym. Something he credits his improved footwork and increased core strength to. His overall improvement earned Fall an invitation to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, where he played well enough to be named to the All Camp team.
"That (camp) was great," Fall said. "Last year I looked at highlights of players who went last year and I was wondering if I would make it this year, and I made it. That was a great feeling. I think I did great. I actually surprised myself."
His biggest takeaway from the camp?
"The classes. They were teaching us a lot of lessons of life at the camp.
Recently Fall attended Florida's Elite Camp during which time he had an opportunity to get to know the Gators coaching staff.
"We talked a little with the coaches," Fall said. "They were just saying that they were really surprised that I did good during the camp and they gave me some advice on some things I need to work on. They have been talking to me and to Mandy (his host mom) too.
Currently holding offers from UTEP, LaSalle, Xavier, Tennessee and Georgia Tech; Fall told us that he has started to think about taking visits.
"I haven't decided which ones yet, but I was thinking about visiting a couple of schools in July or August," he said.
As more coaches see him during the July "live" periods, we expect Fall's offer list to get longer due to his considerable upside. He runs well, has good hands, will pound the boards, block and alter shots, and at 7-foot-5, 280 pounds Fall has a powerful body.
So, as we get closer to prospects making their official visits, it will be interesting to see how Fall's recruitment plays out.
Russ Wood is the basketball recruiting analyst for Inside the Gators & Rivals. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.