In a disturbing incident in Tennessee, a 22-year-old married man allegedly posed as a senior transfer student at one of Memphis’ best boys basketball teams, leading to the squad’s elimination from the state playoffs.
As reported by Memphis CBS affiliate WREG and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, McKinzie Sewell used a fake transcript to enroll at Memphis (Tn.) Ridgeway High, where he starred on the boys basketball team. Sewell’s transcript was allegedly submitted to the school by his wife, who posed as his mother so he would have a back story to explain why he was enrolling at the school.
Sewell never previously graduated from a high school, but he earned a GED. Somewhat ironically, he wore the number 22 for Ridgeway, identical to his age. He also set up a BeRecruited profile under his name portraying himself as an 18-year-old senior at Ridgeway.
It has not been confirmed whether Sewell registered with the school for the fall or winter term. Regardless, the fact that he had taken the court at all immediately made the entire Ridgeway squad ineligible for the state playoffs, just after the school had reached the regional final round of the tournament.
“It has come to our attention that an ineligible player played in the closing minutes of the Region 8-AAA semi-finals against Whitehaven High School,” Memphis Community Schools said in a statement. “Ridgeway High School reported this information to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association [TSSAA]. Ridgeway HS has forfeited that game and has been removed from the tournament playoffs.”
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That removal has effectively ended the season for a group of players who had overcome significant hardship to reach the state semis. Most notably, one of the team’s assistant coaches was killed in his home in February.
Now the team will have to stay home, with parents of the players furious at the Memphis Community Schools’ inability to catch Sewell before he had suited up for a game.
“It’s absurd the administration has failed," Adrian Jones, a Ridgeway parent told WREG. "They’re not keeping the kids safe. They’re not doing checks and balances.”
Sewell is not the first imposter to strike the prep hoops ranks. In 2010 a Haitian 22-year-old named Guerdwich Montimere played the high school basketball season at Odessa (Tx.) Permian High. He was eventually caught and sentenced to three years in prison because of a relationship with a teenager while he was at the school.
Now Sewell joins the ranks of Montimere and others in the ranks of disturbing prep imposters who have threatened the safety of the teens they compete with and against.
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