Anyone following high school basketball in our nation's capital will have heard the name Junior Etou, a 6'7" monster of a forward for Bishop O'Connell High. According to a lot of observers, Etou, who hails from Congo in Africa, looks like a man playing among boys.
And likely he is, as Deadspin has uncovered evidence that Etou is actually closer to being 21 than he should, and several years past the age he should be able to play high school ball.
Another case of mistaken identity? Probably not, if you read the evidence Deadspin has uncovered.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post thought enough of Etou to make him the lead of a massive story about the superior quality of D. C. schoolboy hoops. In previous articles, the paper had identified Etou as a cousin of Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder and said that he's attracted recruiters from Clemson, Miami, Temple, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, Southern Cal, and Xavier. Kansas has reportedly recently begun courting him, too. Fans and coaches of rival high schools in the D.C. area have suddenly taken stock of Etou, too, but for another reason: They're grumbling among themselves and on local hoops message boards about the apparent, um, maturity of the imported talent. O'Connell says Etou is 18 years old, but even those with leanings toward the school had their doubts. "It was like watching Chris Webber play a bunch of high school kids," an O'Connell alum told me after watching Etou dominate DeMatha. And maybe the grumblers are onto something. Junior Etou's full name is Luc Tselan Tsiene Etou. He is originally from the Republic of Congo. Turns out that in 2009, Luc Tselan Tsiene Etou played for the Congo Republic national team in the FIBA Africa Championship in Tripoli and Benghazi. The roster for that tournament lists Etou's hometown as Pointe Noire, the second-largest city in the Republic, and his birth date as "4 June 1992." That would make him 20 years old, not 18.