The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

August 29, 2009

MSU basketball

Cougars’ signee Sturgess brings a lot to the table

The questions don’t come as quick as the stares.

But still they come.

“Do you play basketball?” A popular one.

“How do you sleep at night?” Another one.

“What’s the weather like up there?” Not so much.

At 7-foot-8 (that’s 92 inches), Paul Sturgess has heard it all.

Good thing he has an easy-going manner. It comes in handy.

“Everywhere I go I get stared at, I’m not going to lie about it,” the England native said. “But it doesn’t really bother me. It’s going to happen for the rest of my life. If I shied away from it, what good is that going to do me? I just take it all in stride. I hold my head high, I’m proud of who I am and I’m putting it to good use, really.”

Indeed.

To answer one question, yes, Sturgess plays basketball. The 21-year-old signed with NAIA power Mountain State University recently and will suit up for the Cougars this season.

“We had Paul in two days before he was scheduled to go back (to England),” MSU coach Bob Bolen said. “I think he likes our situation and thinks he can help our team (win a national title).”

Here’s the lowdown on Sturgess:

His height makes him the third- or fourth-largest living person on the planet.

“Third or fourth, but I don’t know officially,” Sturgess said. “Unofficially, I’m the biggest man in Britain. But I just don’t want to go down to the Guinness Book of World Records yet because it’s unwanted attention. I want to focus on basketball. After basketball, maybe I’ll go ahead and see what it can bring, but right now, I’m just focusing on basketball.”

At 7-8, he will be the tallest player to play college basketball.

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