By Chelsea Lacey-Mabe

WINDSOR, ONTARIO (CBS) — A high school student and varsity basketball player believed to be 17 is actually 30, reports say.

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The Windsor Star is reporting Jonathan Nicola, originally from South Sudan, entered Canada illegally last year and has been posing as an 11th grader at Catholic Central High School in Windsor, Ontario ever since.

Nicola who is 6-foot-9, played center for the Central High Comets and was even ranked as a top-20 prospect in the class of 2018 by a Canadian basketball recruiting blog called North Pole Hoops.

There’s speculation that Nicola was planning to make his way to the United States and reports show he attempted to several times. The last attempt in December was what led to his arrest two weeks ago for violating Canada’s Immigration Refugee Protection Act.

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Prior to his arrest, Nicola was reportedly staying with his coach, Pete Cusumano who has done several interviews with Canadian news affiliates about the ordeal. Back in December Cusumano tweeted out a video showing his new player’s first high school dunk.

The video has since been deleted but Cusumano tweeted periodically about Nicola and gave a shout-out to Detroit Pistons’ power forward, Anthony Tolliver who helped donate clothes and sneakers for Nicola around Christmas.


In an interview with Star in January for a feature story unrelated to the scandal, Cusumano said he thought Nicola had a shot at going to the NBA. During the same interview, Nicola said, “he left Sudan, his disease-ridden, war torn home, for a better life in Windsor.”

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It hasn’t been determined whether Nicola will be deported back to Sudan.