Harlem Globetrotters Announce 2012 Rookie Class

Back row (l-r): Stretch Middleton, Tiny Sturgess, Biggie McClain; Middle row (l-r): Quake Milum, Jacob "Hops" Tucker, Flip Atkins, Jet Williams, Spider Wilks; Front row (l-r): Too Tall Hall, TNT Maddox

Globetrotters Introduce Class of Newcomers, Highlighted by the Tallest Pro Basketball Player, the Shortest Globetrotter Ever, and the Team’s First Female in 19 Years

(PHOENIX, Oct. 7, 2011) – The Harlem Globetrotters have signed 10 outstanding new players to join the world’s most famous basketball team. The rookie class includes the world’s tallest pro basketball player, the shortest Globetrotter ever, and the team’s first female player in nearly two decades.

The 2012 class could be the most electrifying and talented in the history of the storied franchise, rivaling that of the class of 1962, which featured Globetrotter Legends Curly Neal, Smokey Gaines, and Jackie Jackson; and the class of 1977, which included Legends Sweet Lou Dunbar and Billy Ray Hobley.

“The Globetrotters are excited to welcome a new generation of stars to carry on the storied tradition of the world’s most entertaining basketball team,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “This year’s rookie class features some of the most talented and promising players from across the world.”

Among the 2012 rookies is the world’s tallest pro basketball player, Paul “Tiny” Sturgess, a 7-8 center from Mountain State University (W.Va.). The tallest Globetrotter ever, he is the 19th internationally born player in team history, hailing from Loughborough, England.

When Jonte “Too Tall” Hall, from Catonsville Community College (Md.), steps on the floor, he will become the shortest player in Globetrotter history at 5-2. The Baltimore, Md., native joins the Trotters after one-and-a-half seasons with the rival Washington Generals. 

The Globetrotters have also signed the ninth female in Globetrotter history, Fatima “TNT” Maddox, a 5-6 star out of Temple University, who is the team’s first female player since 1993. Hailing from Colorado Springs, Colo., Maddox helped lead Temple to an Atlantic 10 Tournament title in 2006 and most recently played professionally in Sweden. 

The team has added some more high-flyers to their roster in signing the top three finishers from the 2011 College Slam Dunk Contest:

• Jacob “Hops” Tucker of Illinois College, the Slam Dunk Champion. At a mere 5-10, the Carlyle, Ill., native sports a 50-inch vertical leap, and his YouTube video of dunks that has seen well over four million views helped him get invited to the Slam Dunk Contest.

• John “Jet” Williams, from Knightdale, N.C., the runner-up in the competition, led UNC-Asheville in blocks as a senior and was second on the team in rebounding.

• Nashville, Tenn., native Darnell “Spider” Wilks of the University of Cincinnati, who reached the semifinals of the Slam Dunk Contest.

The rookie class is rounded out by:

• Patrick “Flip” Atkins of Trinity International University (Ill.). A former member of the popular Jesse White Tumblers performing group, the Chicago, Ill., product led TIU not only in assists and steals as a senior, but in rebounding as well, at just 5-foot-9.

• Jermaine “Stretch” Middleton of Northwood University (Fla.). At 7-4, the San Antonio, Texas native is the third-tallest player in team history behind fellow rookie Paul “Tiny” Sturgess (7-8) and former Globetrotter Dut Mayar (7-6).

• Quade “Quake” Milum, of the University of Akron. The 6-8, Dayton, Ohio, native is a former Ohio high school high jump champion who also competed as a University of Akron freshman, where he recorded a season-best 6-8¾ jump at the MAC Championships.

• Anthony “Biggie” McClain, from Trenton, N.J. A teammate of Darnell “Spider” Wilks at the University of Cincinnati, the seven-footer led the Bearcats in field goal percentage this past season.

These 10 world class athletes will join Globetrotter stars Special K Daley, Big Easy Lofton, Flight Time Lang, Dizzy Grant, Scooter Christensen, and many others as the Globetrotters prepare for their 2012 World Tour. The North American leg of the tour will tip-off on Dec. 26, 2011, and will conclude with five games in Alaska near the end of April 2012. The team will play nearly 270 games in over 230 cities in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces. Tickets go on sale Oct. 17.

Sponsored by Howard Johnson Hotels, Greyhound Lines, Spalding, and Russell Athletic, the Original Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 86th consecutive year, continuing a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Throughout their history, the Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 120 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans—among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents—over more than eight thrilling decades.