Based on International Basketball Federation records, Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) senior forward Junior Etou will turn 21 years old this spring and should therefore be ineligible to play for the Knights, according to a Deadspin report.
A cousin of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and fellow Democratic Republic of Congo native, Etou ranks as Rivals.com's No. 142 national recruit in the Class of 2013 and holds offers from Clemson, Kansas, Maryland, Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia.
One of the country's top teams, O'Connell maintains its 6-foot-8, 225-pound star is 18 years old, but FIBA record indicate a different story. The Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) School transfer's given name, Luc Tselan Tsiene Etou, appears in three separate FIBA-sanctioned events from 2009-10 with two separate birthdays: April 6 and June 4, 1992, Deadspin reported. Either birthday would make Etou significantly older than the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference's birthday cutoff of Sept. 1, 1994.
While basketball's global governing body confirmed to Deadspin that it received either a passport or birth certificate that confirms the June 4, 1992 date is an accurate one, O'Connell president Katy Prebble told the media outlet, "The school has the documentation, including his passport, verifying the age of Junior Etou to be 18." O'Connell coach Joe Wootten and WCAC commissioner Jim Leary declined comment.
In 2011, Etou's birthdate on his Wikipedia page was changed from June 4, 1992 to 1994 from an IP address in Jacksonville, Fla., where he played high school ball at the time.
This season, Etou has averaged 15.3 points and 11.9 rebounds during O'Connell's 16-3 start.
"It was like watching Chris Webber play a bunch of high school kids," an O'Connell alumnus described to Deadspin after Etou dropped nine points and 19 rebounds in a 68-48 blowout of WCAC rival and perennial national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) High.
Oddly, Etou's alleged birthday forgery might not be the worst thing that happened to a major sports recruit from Virginia this weekend. On Sunday, Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) High senior running back Taquan Mizzell was arrested for underage possession of alcohol during a recruiting trip to the University of Virginia on Sunday, according to a Washington Post report.
The nation's No. 29 recruit in the Class of 2013 as rated by Rivals.com, Mizzell was seen "standing in the middle of the street trying to kick a moving vehicle," a police spokesman told the paper. He is scheduled to sign with UVA this coming Monday on National Signing Day.
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