The story of Jerry Joseph made headlines a year ago because the Permian high school basketball star living the life of a standout athlete wasn't in fact Jerry Joseph. His real name was Guerdwich Montimere, and Montimere was a 22-year-old claiming he was 16. No one found out until AAU coaches in Florida recognized him at a tournament. That landed Montimere in hot water and in jail for false identification and also because a teenage girl said the two had sex.
Yep, it's completely bizarre, and in this month's GQ Magazine, Jerry Joseph gets profiled in a haunting story that includes a jailhouse interviewed in which Montimere insists his name is still Jerry. There are a couple college basketball-related angles to the story as well.
According to the story, Permian coach Danny Wright, who had taken Montimere onto his team and into his home believing he was Jerry Joseph, said Texas Tech was recruiting Jerry Joseph, the standout sophomore. "Texas Tech was ready to take him," Wright told GQ. "They wanted him bad."
Then there's the story of Divonte Wallace, a friend and teammate of Jerry Joseph's who lost his starting spot to Jerry Joseph as the real-life 22-year-old began dominating and making a name for himself on the court. According to GQ, Wallace never got any college offers and now works at FedEx and stays in shape in case something ever did materialize.
Montimere's deception affected the many lives that were detailed in the story. While sitting in jail waiting for the next court date, he still occasionally plays basketball -- the game that offered him a second at being a teenager. He also told GQ this:
"Basketball is a skill," he says. "It's a gift from God. But it was never my passion." He says it isn't that anyone pressured him to play, exactly. It just made everyone else so happy. Everyone seemed to like him so much more. "I thought about quitting all the time," he says.