Uproxx- According to Trevor Wilhelm of the Windsor Star, the top player for Windsor, Ontario’s Catholic Central High School was arrested earlier this week after border officers discovered the 30-year-old had been posing as a teenager for the past six months.
For a story detailing his prodigious on-court exploits that was published in January, Nicola told The Star he came to Canada in late November after fleeing war-torn South Sudan. He’d been living with Catholic Central coach Pete Cusumano ever since, who reportedly believed the lanky center “had a shot” to play in the NBA.
Neither the Canada Border Services agency nor school officials would shed any further light on these exceedingly strange circumstances. Nicola is being held under violation of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. Authorities elected to continue detaining him after reviewing the case on Tuesday; an additional hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board is scheduled for next week.
At 6’9 and 202 pounds, Nicola surely towers over most if not all of his opponents – as many grown men would. He also shows a smooth shooting stroke and relatively advanced ball-handling ability for a player of his size.
This guy lasted 6 months, huh? I guess Greg Oden actually did change the game. No, not by actually playing it, but by giving the opportunity to guys that look every hour of the age of 30 to hoop against teenagers without skepticism. Talk about setting a precedent. How can you question a 6'9 dude from South Sudan when you didn't question someone that appeared a good decade and a half older than him. Sucks he got caught, but apparently as long as you're tall, black, and don't have gray hair you can get at least one season of high school ball in before getting deported. Hell of an experience for a 30 year old from a third world country to add to his resume if you ask me.
And don't you think we are being a little callous with this guy? He went dodging death on a daily basis in a war torn country to being a grown man in unfamiliar territory interacting with insufferable teenagers in the United States. I remember the last time I witnessed a high school interaction. Suffice to say Jonathon Nicola wasn't exactly living the American dream. Shit, with the things that high schoolers make popular nowadays I would be shocked if Nicola didn't re-pack his bag and think about heading home once or twice. Sounds absurd, but if you have enough conversations with stupid, self involved children you'd be surprised how quickly you'd risk death to avoid another one. This man experienced the worst of the worst from 3rd to 1st world country, and I personally think we should let him stay and see what this nation is all about without the company of hundreds of children he potentially could have fathered. Especially since he could add some spark and a savvy veteran presence to the end of an NBA bench...
UPDATE: I guess he was playing high school ball in Canada? Whatever, still North America. Take stands. Count it.