22-year-old poses as high school basketball player
Usually the only place you find 22-year-olds portraying high schoolers is in the movies, and the only outsider who wants to be involved with athletics at Permian High in Odessa, Texas, is Buzz Bissinger.
That is, until Guerdwich Monitmere, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native and former junior college basketball player who came to Permian as high school sophomore Jerry Joseph. According to the Odessa American, which has done great work over time chipping away at the mystery of Montimere, Guerdwich admitted on May 11 he was no longer Jerry, and he was placed under arrest.
Montimere had already been held out of offseason workouts when suspicions developed that he was not who he said he was. Maybe the gray hairs gave him away. Apparently Montimere lived with a former high school teammate playing basketball at the University of Texas-Permian Basin, then moved in with Permian coach Danny Wright. From the American:
“He was a family member and that is devastating to my family,” Wright said. “This affected a lot of people. The whole school of Permian embraced that kid. He deceived us and played on everyone involved’s emotions.
“He has been lying to everyone, my God, what is up with that?” Wright said.
Montimere played varsity basketball for the Panthers his sophomore season, which will likely result in the entire season being forfeited.
Permian principal Roy Garcia, who was at the forefront of the investigation, said he was glad the matter has been resolved. “I wanted the truth. Whatever the truth was, we had to get to it.
“I’m absolutely glad that it has been resolved. I feel sick, but now that we’ve gotten the truth, we can move on from here,” Garcia said.
Permian was tipped off, as was the Odessa American, about two weeks ago by sources from Florida who accused the Permian sophomore of being a 22-year-old former Florida player.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were confident the previous week that “Joseph” was an illegal Haitian immigrant, but before Arizona police could get to him, ICE said, upon further review, he was not. But it did discover “Joseph” wasn’t who he said he was, and alerted local authorities in Odessa. Monitmere, as of this writing, is in a holding cell, awaiting charges on presenting false information to a peace officer.
Yet to be answered: Why did Montimere do this? And why didn’t school officials in Odessa have any inkling something was amiss?