Catholic Central High School (Windsor) head coach Pete Cusumano told the Windsor Star in January that his star center may have a shot at the NBA some day.
That prospective goal appears to have been indefinitely shelved on Thursday.
Jonathan Nicola, a 6-foot-9 Sudanese native, has been attending Catholic Central during the 2015-16 school year under the guise of being a 17-year-old high school junior. According to evidence acquired by the Canada Border Services Agency, Nicola is actually 30.
Trevor Wilhelm of the Windsor Star, who originally broke the story, reports that Nicola is now being detained under the authority of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act.
Previously, Nicola had spent the school year living with Cusumano through a program called Canada Homestay, which locates potential places of residence for students from foreign countries.
“I think this kid will have a chance at the NBA,” Cusumano told the Star’s Bob Duff earlier this year. “I have never said that about any kid from Windsor.”
Nicola’s statistics were tough to come by at the time of publish, with the Washington Post citing three games in which he scored 10, 12, and 9 points this season. While those numbers may not constitute an Earth shattering output, Nicola’s length and the supposed story of having never played more than pick-up basketball before this season swelled enough hype behind his potential to spur a YouTube video showcasing his budding abilities.
In addition, the Detroit Pistons even donated clothing and size 16 shoes for Nicola’s use.
— Peter Cusumano (@CCHCoachCus) December 11, 2015
Somewhat surprisingly, this wouldn’t be the first time an older athlete has tried to pass themselves off as a high schooler. In 2009, a 21-year-old Haitian immigrant infamously passed himself off as star basketball player Jerry Joseph in Odessa, Texas, discovered to be a fraud only after being recognized by coaches from his former conference during an offseason tournament in Arkansas.
Joseph, whose real name is Guerdwich Montimere, served three years in prison for identity theft and sexual assault after it was revealed he’d sparked a relationship with a 15-year-old while attending high school again in Texas.