Students shocked high school basketball player allegedly much older than 17
Students and staff at a Windsor high school are shocked at news that one of the school's star athletes may not be who they thought he was.
There are allegations the player was posing as a 17-year-old, but is in fact 29, according to Canada Border Service Agency.
The student is Jonathon Nicola, a well-known basketball player at Catholic Central High School, who is now being detained by immigration officials.
Nicola stands six-foot-nine, weighing in at just over 200 pounds.
Members of the school’s basketball team say they are shocked to hear their teammate is in jail.
“One of our brothers is locked up right now,” says captain Donald Mensah. “We're still praying for him."
Teammates say the thought of Nicola posing as a teen is not out of the question.
“I'm going to be honest he doesn't look like he's 17, he might look a little bit older, but I really believed him," says one teammate.
CBSA alleges that Jonathan Nicola misrepresented material facts on his application for a study permit for Canada.
Nicola submitted an application for a Canadian study permit abroad with a date of birth of Nov. 25, 1998.
When he recently applied for a US visitor visa, it was determined by fingerprint match, that he was the same individual who had made a previous application to the United States using a DOB of Nov. 1, 1986.
In an interview with CTV News last December, Nicola said he fled his home in Africa and was now living with the team's head coach Pete Cusumano.
"There's a palpable amount of tension in the air, people are obviously very concerned about it and we understand that but we are trying to maintain a business as usual atmosphere there," says Stephen Fields, spokesperson for the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board.
Fields says the board ensures all students from other countries have proper documentation in order to enroll in school.
“Passports, study permit, immunization records and academic transcripts providing they still have them depending on what country they are coming from," says Fields.
In the meantime, his teammates are wishing him well as he remains in custody.
"We love you man, we are praying for you," says Mensah.
In the meantime, the board says students who attend Catholic Central will be receiving more information from them as the situation unfolds through email.
Nicola’s next detention hearing is scheduled for April 26.