Montgomery County Public Schools officials are investigating an online news report that a star basketball player at Rockville High School might be 20 years old, four years older than he has claimed to be.
MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onjiala on Friday confirmed that the school system is looking into the allegations published in the Deadspin article earlier this week.
The investigative report lays out evidence that Jimmy Sorunke, a freshman center who stands 6 feet 10 inches tall and is a recent arrival from Nigeria, is actually Olujimi Sorunke Abayomi.
A profile of Abayomi posted on a Nigerian blog site states that he was born on the “11th of June 1997.” Sorunke has posted on Facebook under the name Jimmy Abayomi and mentioned that his birthday is June 11, according to the Deadspin article.
In the past year, Sorunke has emerged as a leader on the Rockville Rams, helping the varsity basketball team achieve a remarkable turnaround from its previous 2-22 season.
He was introduced to the Rockville High team as a 16-year-old freshman who was coming off an unsuccessful attempt to play for Huntington Prep in West Virginia. The Rampage, the Rockville High student newspaper, reported that Huntington Prep canceled Sorunke’s scholarship because he turned out to be two inches shorter than school officials were expecting.
Joe Boncore, a Rockville High graduate who has been represented as Sorunke’s guardian, told the Deadspin reporter that he has seen paperwork showing that the student is, in fact, 16 years old.
Students who are older than 19 at the beginning of the school year are barred from playing high school sports, according to state regulations.
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