The Cal Poly men’s basketball team’s latest recruit has had the nickname “Too Tall” Hall since he was a 6-foot-4 seventh-grader who could dunk on a regulation rim.
Joshua Hall never had a single growth spurt. He’s always been big for his age.
Now committed to the Mustangs, Hall has a year to make sure he doesn’t get tagged for being too thin.
The 6-foot-7, 185-pound graduated senior from Brush Prairie (Wash.) Hockinson High said he plans on signing a letter of intent with Cal Poly in November while he either attends a prep school or spends a season grayshirting with the hope of packing on enough pounds to bang in the Big West Conference.
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“I felt like I belong there; I felt like I could play at that level,” Hall said after participating in an open gym with current Cal Poly players during his recent campus visit. “Just the biggest thing was the strength and the weight. I played with the group, and I was there. I won’t say I survived. I did contribute, but definitely with the weight part of it, the high caliber of basketball is something I’ll need to work toward and adjust to.”
A small-school star in Washington, Hall said he gave Mustangs head coach Joe Callero a verbal commitment after Callero originally pitched the idea of him waiting a year to enroll in college.
“At first I was a little hesitant, but that was from not understanding what it was and not knowing the unknown,” said Hall, who averaged 21 points and 7.8 rebounds this past season, “but, really looking at my situation, and what I need to do, I feel great about it.”
An inside-outside threat, Hall shot 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range for the Hawks, a playoff team that finished 14-9 overall.
In the seven-year history of the school, the four-year starter holds 12 program records. In addition to being the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Hall has the most blocks and free throws in a season and career at Hockinson.
NCAA rules prohibit Callero from commenting publicly on specific recruits. And even though he does have one scholarship to award before the fall, Callero said he was hoping to land a big man who could contribute right away.
“We’re looking for an interior player,” Callero said, “someone who can clearly block a shot, run the floor, and give us a post presence on the offensive end.”
As Hall knows, that’s not him at this stage of his career, largely because of his weight. Hall’s father, Whit, knows what his son is going through. He was also tall for his age, and though Whit maxed out at 6-6, his frame didn’t fill out until after his 20th birthday.
“I was like him in every sense, except I didn’t have the coordination he did,” said Whit, who was a junior college rower in Southern California before transferring to become a student at UCLA. “I was 6-4, and then I grew another couple inches after high school.”
Hall said Callero likened his size to that of senior captain David Hanson, a 6-5, 210-pound Minnesota native who has molded himself into an all-conference forward.
Hanson did not have to grayshirt or attend prep school, but it took him more than a year to become a game-changing player.
“It’s a great way for me to go,” Hall said. “It’s going to shoot me a lot further. I’ll just be able to focus on my development as an individual physically, mentally, and I’ll be coming in hopefully with 15 or 20 more pounds and not have to redshirt and sit the bench.”