Canadian border agents arrest man posing as teen to play high school hoops
WINDSOR, Ontario - Officials at the Canadian border have taken an African man, believed to be 30 years old, after he spent the last six months posing as a teenager while attending a Catholic high school so he could play basketball.
Jonathon Nicola, who was allowed in the country on a student visa, is currently in a Canadian detention center despite making a name for himself recently on the hardwood for the Catholic Central Comets senior boys’ basketball team.
Nicola was arrested for allegedly contravening the immigration Refugee Protection Act, according to the Windsor-Star. Officials wouldn’t elaborate on exactly what Nicola had done to be arrested. The school board has yet to respond.
Standing 6’9” tall and weighing 202 pounds with a size 16 shoe, Nicola was dominant on the court where his cover story was that he was a 17-year-old Grade 11 student.
Local sources reported the man was even living with Comets head coach Pete Cusumano through a program called Canada Homestay, which finds homes for foreign students. Cusumano told the press he couldn’t comment on the situation at this time.
The coach did speak to the press back in January though when he told the Windsor-Star in an interview that Nicola was so good for a young basketball player that he definitely had a shot at heading to the NBA. A local basketball source even posted a “prospect video” that shows the 30-year-old “high school junior” shooting baskets and running drills in the high school gym.
Nicola himself was also interviewed for the January feature story. He told reporters that he had arrived in Windsor on Nov. 22, 2015, just three days ahead of his 17th birthday. He claimed he’d left his war-torn home of South Sudan for a better life in Canada.
“A few of my friends know of my background, how we live over there,” he told the Star in January. “I don’t know how many of them have a clue of how it is in Africa.”
The man said it took him six months to acquire a Canadian student visa.
“With the war going on, terrorism and all this, they make it real double hard,” he said.
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