Catholic Central Comets Jonathan Nicola, centre, defends against Kennedy Clippers Omer Sulliman, left, in senior boys’ basketball action at Catholic Central on Jan. 5, 2016. Photo by Nick Brancaccio, used with permission from the Windsor Star.
For the past six months, Jonathon Nicola has gone to class at Catholic Central High School and practiced with the basketball team. This is all well and good if he's a teenager but according to Canadian officials, he's not. He's 30.
The Windsor Star reported the story of Nicola, an African man believed to be 30 years old who spent the past six months attending the High School and posing as a teenager.
Nicola stands almost seven feet tall, weighs 202 pounds, and wears a shoe size of 16. He was going to the school a 17-year-old 11th grader and, given his size, was obviously a star on the Catholic Central Comets senior boys’ basketball team.
But his future on the team looks murky. On Wednesday, the Canada Border Services Agency said he was arrested for contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act.
Nicola was in Canada on a student visa, which he says took him six months to attain after fleeing his home country of Sudan. Here's what he told the Star during a feature piece in January:
“A few of my friends know of my background, how we live over there,” he said in January. “I don’t know how many of them have a clue of how it is in Africa. With the war going on, terrorism and all this, they make it real double hard."
The school would not comment on the situation but spokesman Stephen Fields gave this statement to the Star:
"There's really not a whole lot to say. Because of the fact this is a matter that's still outstanding before the federal authorities, obviously we can't really comment on it. Beyond that there's not a whole lot to say."