High school basketball star actually 30

The man who claimed to be 17 might actually be closer to 30. Photo / iStock
The man who claimed to be 17 might actually be closer to 30. Photo / iStock

A Canadian high school basketball star has been arrested on allegations he's in fact 13 years older than he's claimed to be.

Border officials in Canada have arrested Jonathan Nicola, who's been enrolled as a senior high school student since his arrival in the country, from South Sudan, six months ago.

Officials are claiming the man, whose age is now in question, misrepresented his date of birth on his application to study in the country.

Media around the world have reported that Mr Nicola, who'd claimed to be 17, but might actually be 30, was arrested this week.

The Canada Border Services Agency told the Windsor Star he'd been detained for allegedly contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act.

Mr Nicola was being kept at the South West Detention Centre, before a hearing next week.

The paper said the South Sudanese man who stands at six-foot-nine, weight 202 pounds and wears a six 16 shoe had been a "star" on the Catholic Central Comets senior boys' basketball team.

He'd been living with the team's head coach through a program called Canada Homestay, which finds homes for foreign students.

His coach, Pete Cusumano, had been reported by the paper, in January, as saying Mr Nicola was so good at the game he had a shot at the NBA.

In the same article, Mr Nicola himself was quoted talking about the challenges of his home land.

"A few of my friends know of my background, how we live over there," he said in January. "I don't know how many of them have a clue of how it is in Africa."

A school spokesperson, Stephen Fields, told the Windsor Star there wasn't a lot to say on the matter.

"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."

Questioned over the concerns about a grown man posing as a teenager he refused to comment specifically on Mr Nicola.

"Generally I can tell you that we have a system of checks and balances in place that whenever international students are coming into any of our schools, we make sure that they have all of the necessary government documentation that they require in order to be in one of our schools."

- NZ Herald

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