At seven-foot-six, 15-year-old Robert Bobroczky is already taller than any current NBA player.
So it's no wonder that Bobroczky is generating buzz among youth league scouts in Europe.
A video recently surfaced showing Bobroczky dominating much shorter competition, adding some worldwide intrigue to the emergence of this young giant.
Bobroczky has excellent shooting, passing, and shot blocking skills, but what the Romanian lacks are any traces at all of muscle on his 184-pound frame. He runs awkwardly, and tires easily.
That's why the Rome academy where Bobroczky is based — the same youth club that produced former Toronto Raptors No. 1 draft pick Andrea Bargnani — has decided to dedicate this season exclusively to fitness and strength.
Since he is in Italy, the recipe is simple: pasta, pasta and more pasta.
Following an individual nutrition plan created for him by specialists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, Bobroczky is eating more than two pounds of pasta per day.
"We're not interested in basketball right now. The top priority is his health," Stellazzurra Basketball Academy general manager Giacomo Rossi said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "For someone with his physical stature, the usual practice sessions are just not enough. He needs individual attention."
Having helped Stellazzurra to the under-15 national title in Italy last season, Bobroczky is sitting this season out and playing in only select tournaments.
"We've got to make sure that five years from now not only can he play basketball but that he's also a fairly normal person," Rossi said. "This is going to be a long and difficult season for him but it's also going to be the most important season of his life. Because every day, all day, he's following an individual project created specifically for him with a staff of physicians."
Here's an average day for Bobroczky:
- 8 a.m. — Breakfast: 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of pasta, either plain or with tomato sauce; eight slices of toast with bacon and an egg.
- 9:30 a.m. — Snack: energy bar or drink
- 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Physical therapy: stretching, co-ordination, posture exercises
- 12 p.m. — Snack: energy bar or drink
- 1 p.m. — Lunch: 14 ounces (400 grams) of pasta, meat or fish, vegetables
- 2 p.m. — Rest
- 2:30 p.m. — Snack: sweets
- 3-5 p.m. — Gym: muscle strengthening
- 5:30 p.m. — Snack: sweets
- 6 p.m. — Rest
- 8 p.m. — Dinner: 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of pasta, meat or fish, vegetables, dessert
- 9:30 p.m. — Sleep
The hope is that once he stops growing and develops some muscles, Bobroczky will run normally.
"The conclusion at the NIH was that there is nothing wrong and it's all genetics," Comandini said.
That makes perfect sense considering that Bobroczky's father is seven-foot-one and played on Romania's national team with Gheorghe Muresan — the seven-foot-seven giant who was the tallest NBA player in history.
Bobroczky's mother is also tall and was an accomplished handball player. And his four-year-old sister Arianna was nearly an inch (2 centimetres) longer than him at birth.
Bobroczky started playing basketball at the age of five, and his idol was Yao Ming.
"Now I have two," Bobroczky said. "Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis."
Asked where he would like to play in the future, Bobroczky responded "Euroleague."