A few months ago, Jerry Joseph was a 16-year-old high school basketball phenom from Odessa, Texas. Then questions emerged concerning Joseph’s age, and last week it became a national story. On Tuesday, Joseph — whose real name is Guerdwich Montimere and who is really 22 — was arrested at Permian High School and booked on a charge of presenting false identification to a peace officer.
If Montimere is convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. There’s more: Permian could have to forfeit the 2009 basketball season that included a trip to the District 2-5A state playoffs, and for Montimere the Newcomer of the Year award after averaging 20 points a game.
Police say Montimere is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti, and Ector County school district officials told The Associated Press that “the man posed as 16-year-old Jerry Joseph and enrolled at Permian High School in Odessa for the 2009-2010 academic year. He also presented himself as homeless to the school’s basketball coach, Danny Wright, who took the boy in last summer, the coach said.”
“I feel like I was hit by a ton of bricks,” district athletic director Leon Fuller admitted to the AP. “In my 50 years in education, I’ve never heard of anything like this.”