A 22-year-old man was arrested May 11 for lying about his age in order to play high school basketball at Texas’ Permian High School. Guerdwich Montimere, a naturalized citizen from Haiti, was charged with false identification to a peace officer after enrolling in the school in 2009 and posing as Jerry Joseph, according to the Odessa American Newspaper.

Montimere was released from the Ector County Jail May 12 after posting $500 bond a day after being arrested for failure to identify himself to a police officer, according to The Associated Press.

Montimere graduated from Florida’s Dillard High School in 2007 after leading the school to a state semifinal basketball game. He later accepted a scholarship to enroll at Highland Community College in the fall of 2007 to play basketball before later dropping out. Montimere then moved to Odessa, Texas, in February 2009 and enrolled at Nimitz Junior High School, alleging to be a 15-year-old orphan from Haiti. He then moved up to Permian High School where he played on the varsity basketball team as a sophomore.

Montimere starred at Permian, earning District 2-5A Basketball Newcomer of the Year honors after moving to the varsity team. He moved in with Permian basketball head coach Danny Wright after telling the coach that he was living with his alleged half-brother, Jabari Caldwell, an old Florida high school teammate, and that he (Caldwell) had moved away.

“I didn’t do anything for my other sons that I didn’t do for Jerry, Guerdwich I guess, whoever he is,” Wright told the Odessa American. “I feel bad for my kids that treated him like a family member and embraced him and loved him.”

After Montimere’s former Florida basketball coaches noticed him in at an Arkansas basketball tournament last month, they confronted Montimere, who denied that he knew them. The coaches then alerted Texas officials two weeks later.

“He was a family member and that is devastating to my family,” Wright told the paper. “This affected a lot of people. The whole school of Permian embraced that kid. He deceived us and played on everyone involved emotions.”

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO