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High school basketball player accused of being a 22-year-old posing as 16

May 12, 2010 |  1:52 pm

Joseph_300 Some high school kids just can't wait to grow up. Other people can't seem to let go of their high school days.

Guerdwich Montimere may fall into the latter category.

Montimere, 22, has been accused of posing as a 16-year-old basketball player at Permian High (made famous in the football book and movie "Friday Night Lights") in Odessa, Texas.

He was released from jail after posting $500 bail Wednesday, a day after being arrested on a charge of failing to identify himself to a police officer, said Ector County Sheriff's Sgt. Debbie Bruce.

According to school officials, Montimere has admitted to posing as Jerry Joseph, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who led Permian to the state playoffs earlier this year. He was named newcomer of the year.


 


 

Montimere moved to Odessa in February 2009 and enrolled at a junior high as Joseph, a 15-year-old illegal immigrant from Haiti, school district spokesman Mike Adkins said. Authorities say Montimere was actually a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.

At first Montimere lived with a friend in the dorm of a local university but eventually moved in with Permian boys basketball Coach Danny Wright, according to Adkins. Wright was granted legal guardianship of "Joseph" earlier this year.

Some Florida basketball coaches at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark., last month allegedly recognized Montimere as a 2007 graduate of Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Permian administrators said they received an anonymous e-mail April 27 about Montimere's identity. School officials, police and ICE agents confirmed Montimere's identity Tuesday, and he confessed after being confronted, Adkins said.

Montimere could face up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500. Permian may have to forfeit the 2009 basketball season.

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Jerry Joseph, who is allegedly Guerdwich Montimere, plays for Permian in January. Credit: Kevin Buehler / Associated Press.

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