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.
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.