Morning Five: 05.04.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 4th, 2012

  1. In just the last three days, the Atlantic 10 has added Butler, the Mountain West has eviscerated the WAC with its additions of San Jose State and Utah State, and now Conference USA has finished it off as a major conference by grabbing Louisiana Tech to go along with the A-10’s Charlotte and the Sun Belt’s North Texas and FIU. There will be a quiz on all of these moves in mid-August. What does this mean from a college basketball perspective? Probably not much. Neither Charlotte nor Louisiana Tech have been relevant in a long time, and although North Texas made the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and 2010, winning in the Sun Belt is less challenging than it will be dealing with UTEP, Tulsa, Southern Miss, and UAB in a revamped Conference USA.
  2. A little under two years ago we touched on an ESPN story about a high school basketball player named Jerry Joseph who may have actually been a 22-year old named Guerdwich Montimere. It was a bizarre story at the time, and it got only weirder as ultimately Joseph/Montimere was convicted and sent to prison for sexual assault on an underage high school student and tampering with government records. In a recent column for ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Wright Thompson attempted to connect all the dots of the saga in a meaningful way, putting a story behind the story of a wayward young man who no doubt got lost in the hype and fame of being the big man on campus. Great read.
  3. Illinois fans caught a glimpse into the mind of one of their incoming transfers when Sam McLaurin, a senior at Coastal Carolina who will take advantage of the one-year graduate school exception, announced (via Twitter, of course) “F— it im going to Illinois #illinination” on Thursday afternoon. McLaurin, a 6’10” power forward who averaged 10/8 last season, will provide some additional frontcourt depth in the wake of Meyers Leonard’s departure to the NBA. He later apologized for his choice of words (“Hey everyone sorry about my language last night. I was just extremely excited to be apart of #illinination”), but we doubt anyone from Waukegan to Carbondale will care much so long as he can bring his numbers every night next season.
  4. In one of the stupider bits of news to come out of our game this offseason (and there are plenty of candidates), Kentucky and Indiana have apparently decided to not renew its annual rivalry that dates back a half-century. The crux of the issue appears to be that UK wanted to move the series back to a rotating neutral site arrangement (likely splitting time between Indianapolis and Louisville, as it did from 1991-2005), while IU insisted on keeping the home-and-home series that had been in effect for the last seven years (and, of course, prior to 1991). If you read the tea leaves, and Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart suggests as much, it was John Calipari not “thrilled about going back to Bloomington” that appears to be driving this ridiculous decision. Look — we understand that a national championship coach typically gets what he wants when he wants it, but as Andy Glockner argues very well in this piece, that doesn’t mean that he’s right for wanting it. College basketball loses when rivalries like these end, and this is especially true now that IU under Tom Crean appears to finally be coming back around. Fix it.
  5. What’s this, a MAY version of Luke Winn‘s Power Rankings? That’s right, now that the NBA Draft deadline has passed and we have a better sense of where the top recruits are headed next season, Winn put together a list of 16 teams that mimics the RTC Top 25 (released Tuesday) at the very top, but has some significant differences with respect to where we ranked schools such as Syracuse, Michigan State, and Arizona. As always, you’ll learn quite a few things that you didn’t already know about people, places and things surrounding the game, so make sure to check it out before you head into the weekend.
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Guerdwich Montimere Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

Posted by nvr1983 on July 27th, 2011

Many of you remember the saga of Guerdwich Montimere, the 22-year old who was caught pretending to be a 16-year old while becoming a Texas high school basketball star last year. Earlier today Montimere, who had claimed to be an orphan from Haiti when he first moved to Texas, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and three counts of tampering with government records and was sentenced to three years in prison (technically he received three years for each count to served concurrently, which basically means that he just serves three years for each count at the same time). Montimere’s case captured the nation’s attention last year as a bizarre mix of strange nostalgia (a former high school athlete trying to recapture his high school glory days) and seediness (dating and having sex with high school girls) with a little bit of Texas lore mixed in (Montimere was attending Odessa Permian High, the school that Friday Nights Lights is based on).

Not your average 16 year-old

Montimere made the move to Texas in 2009 with the help of a high school teammate and assumed the name Jerry Joseph before eventually moving in with his high school coach, who had been told that Montimere was an orphan from Haiti. Montimere immediately made an impact on the basketball team and was named the District 2-5A Newcomer of the Year. Unfortunately for Montimere, his success also meant that he was offered opportunities to play on a bigger stage. When he traveled with his AAU team to a tournament in Arkansas several of the coaches from Florida recognized him as Montimere, who had graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2009, which led to several anonymous tips to Permian officials. The first time Permian officials contacted immigration authorities Montimere was cleared, but a subsequent investigation revealed his true identity and Montimere confessed that he was, in fact, not Jerry Joseph.

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Nice Try, Guerdwich

Posted by jstevrtc on May 12th, 2010

Remember the story we posted a few days ago about the basketball player at Odessa, Texas’ Permian High School — yes, it’s the Friday Night Lights high school — who claimed to be 16-year old sophomore Jerry Joseph, but was under suspicion of being an impostor?  Yesterday, we found out that this person was indeed Guerdwich Montimere, not a Harry Potter villain, but a 22-year old from Florida who graduated from Ft. Lauderdale’s Dillard High in 2007 and decided to relive part of his youth.

Montimere, aka Jerry Joseph.

Claiming to be a 15-year old orphan from Haiti at the time, Montimere moved to Odessa under the Jerry Joseph moniker in February 2009 and impressed everyone with his hooping skills, eventually winning the Texas District 2-5A Newcomer of the Year award.  Last month, a Florida AAU coach named Louis Vives saw Joseph at a tournament in Arkansas and immediately recognized him as Montimere, setting off speculation as to exactly who Jerry Joseph really was.  An anonymous e-mail received a few weeks ago by folks at Permian High led to an investigation, and Joesph was actually cleared by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who couldn’t prove that Joseph and Montimere were really the same person.  What they did find out was that the person who claimed to be Joseph’s half-brother last year when he enrolled Joseph in that junior high school — one Jabari Caldwell, actually a former teammate of Montimere’s at Dillard High in Ft. Lauderdale — was no relation to Joseph.  With no relatives in the country, Joseph was therefore said to have no legal basis for being in America, and he was subsequently taken into the home of Permian High School head coach Danny Wright while all the immigration issues were sorted out.  Likely hearing the footsteps behind him, Joseph came clean yesterday and admitted the was not 16-year old Jerry Joseph, but really 22-year old Guerdwich Montimere.

Montimere was arrested and, just a few hours prior to the posting of this very article, was released from jail after posting a $500 bond.  We’re certain Coach Wright has an opinion on a fitting sentence for Montimere, having taken the guy into his home.  Also, the Permian boys basketball team will probably have to forfeit all of their wins from last season because they used an ineligible player, so we doubt Guerdwich has any friends left in Odessa.  Therefore, if you’re approached in the next few days by a rather tall, mature-looking 16-year old with a Haitian birth certificate who wants you to enroll him at your local high school, just play it safe and call the cops.  You’re likely looking at Guerdwich Montimere — the David Hampton/Paul David Poitier of our times.

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Mistaken Identity or Identified Mistake?

Posted by rtmsf on May 6th, 2010

We caught wind of this bizarre story involving a high school star from Odessa, Texas (“Mojo!”), who may or may not be a 16-year old named Jerry Joseph, may or may not be an illegal immigrant from Haiti, and may or may not be a 22-year old named Guerdwich Montimere who already exhausted his prep eligibility in the mid-2000s in South Florida.  Depending on whom you ask, he could be any one of those threee people or none at all.  According to an ESPN report, Joseph, a 6’5 guard who was the regional newcomer of the year in that part of Texas in 2009-10, stands accused by coaches from the Ft. Lauderdale area that he is the same person (Montimere) who starred at Dillard HS and played for the South Florida Elite AAU team several years ago. 

Cedric Smith and Louis Vives, coaches for the South Florida Elite AAU team, saw Joseph last month at an AAU tournament in Arkansas and are convinced that Joseph is Montimere.  “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.  “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?'”

Fairly convincing, right?  Problem is that we already saw this movie at least, oh, a dozen times, and any good narrative needs to have a significant plot twist to leave us wondering.  Enter US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who got involved when the rumors started swirling about the true identity of the self-proclaimed teenager from Haiti.  Its investigation found that Joseph and Montimere are not the same person, but wait for it…  Joseph, who has no blood relative in the United States, may be living in the country illegally.  This part complicates things even more — Jabari Caldwell, a former Dillard player with Montimere in Ft. Lauderdale, has been claiming that he was Joseph’s half-brother/guardian and was the person who walked Joseph into Odessa Permian to enroll him in classes there last summer.  ICE says that Caldwell is in fact not Joseph’s kin, and as such, Joseph has no legal basis to be in America.  For the time being, though, his coach at Odessa has taken him in for the purposes of getting him through the immigration hearings.   

Whew.  So who is this kid and where did he come from?  And if Joseph is not Montimere, where is the 22-year old that nobody in Florida has seen or heard from in over a year?  The Florida people are convinced that they’re the same person, and the link between Caldwell and Montimere/Joseph is more than enough to raise an eyebrow or two, but the ICE’s mandate is to track people who are very good at lying and they’ve cleared him.  We’re not sure what to believe, but we’re anxious to sit back and watch the rest of it unfold.  As the world gets flatter and connections between people from different corners of it more interconnected, even the End of the Earth known as west Texas is no longer a sanctuary for hideaways. 

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