Last week, an interesting story popped up about a 16-year-old high school basketball star, a Haitian immigrant calling himself “Jerry Joseph,” that several Texas area high school coaches insisted was actually 22-year-old former high school basketball player Guerdwich Montmiere.
South Florida coaches Cedric Smith and Louis Vives spotted the “16-year-old” at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas and swore up and down everyone was being punked:
“I’m 100 percent sure. I would bet my paycheck,” Smith told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“We saw him. We’ve known Guerdwich since he was in seventh or eighth grade. The mannerisms were him. It doesn’t make sense. They have to do more investigations for me,” Smith told the newspaper.
Joseph denied that he was Montimere when he spoke with Vives at the tournament.
“It was shocking, and the question at hand was just why,” Vives told USA Today. “When I approached him, I just wanted to know what was going on. The surprised look on his face gave it away that it was him. … Once he saw a Florida team and players and coaches who knew him, the look on his face was like, ‘Wow, what am I into now?’
Well, it turns out, the coaches were right. The player, who is actually 22-year-old Guerdwich Montmiere, a naturalized US citizen, was arrested at Permier High in Odessa, Texas, and brought to Ector County Jail. Montmiere was charged with presenting false identification to a police officer. Officials say the deception first began in February of 2009, and that the “student” originally enrolled as a 15-year-old.
School officials, who ceded that they will probably have to forfeit the entire 2009 basketball season in which Montmiere led the team to District 2-5A state playoffs, were shocked when Montmiere’s scam was confirmed:
“I feel like I was hit by a ton of bricks,” district athletic director Leon Fuller said. “In my 50 years in education, I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
Wright told The American that the player was like a family member.
“This affected a lot of people. The whole school of Permian embraced that kid. He deceived us and played on everyone’s emotions,” Wright said.
Montmiere’s motives for re-enrolling in high school are currently unknown.