At 6-foot-9, Catholic Central (Windsor, Canada) junior forward Jonathon Nicola was believed to have a future in basketball. The only problem? This week, the South Sudan native was arrested after officials discovered that he is actually 30 years old and not 17. According to the Windsor Star, Nicola was living with his basketball coach after coming to Canada from Africa, telling reporters in November that he was just 16 when arriving in Windsor.
The group Windsor Hoops, which calls itself a “local basketball resource promoting news, players and results from Windsor,” even posted a “prospect video” that shows Nicola shooting hoops and running drills in the school gym.
Nicola told the Star in the January feature story that he arrived in Windsor on Nov. 22, 2015, just three days before his 17th birthday. He said he left South Sudan, his disease-ridden, wartorn home, for a better life in Windsor.
Nicola was arrested this week by Canadian border officials under the country's Immigration Refugee Protection Act, although a spokesman would not specify what he is specifically being accused of.
“There’s really not a whole lot to say,” said spokesman Stephen Fields. “Because of the fact this is a matter that’s still outstanding before the federal authorities, obviously we can’t really comment on it. Beyond that there’s not a whole lot to say.”
The Canada Border Services Agency said Wednesday officers arrested Nicola for allegedly contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. He is being detained under the authority of that act. The agency didn’t elaborate on what Nicola, who is in Canada on a student visa, is accused of doing.
While life in South Sudan cannot be easy, and Nicola's story is probably quite harrowing, 30 year old men shouldn't be attending high school and playing competitive basketball against teens.