High school hoops star revealed as grown man
A 25-year-old man lived a double life as a teenager for nine months — even dating a 14-year-old — just so he could play high school basketball again, school officials said.
Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley claimed to be a Hurricane Harvey refugee in August when he enrolled as a freshman under the name Rashun Richardson at Skyline High School in Dallas.
He later transferred to Hillcrest High School, where he joined the basketball team and dominated younger players en route to being named the district’s offensive player of the year, the Dallas Morning News reports.
“He took that as an opportunity to gain access to our schools,” Dallas Independent School District spokeswoman Robyn Harris told the newspaper. “He was fairly savvy to be able to utilize that type of position, knowing that we were accepting Harvey students.”
Gilstrap-Portley fully immersed himself in the high school scene, going so far as to date a 14-year-old classmate, according to the girl’s mother.
“It’s unbelievable to me that he could get away with this,” the unidentified woman said. “I don’t know what, how [the school] let this slip through the cracks.”
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she didn’t approve of her daughter’s relationship with the man they both knew as the 17-year-old Rashun. But the woman said her daughter told her she did not have a sexual relationship with Gilstrap-Portley, whom she never met but had spoken to on the phone.
“He was always respectful to me,” she told the newspaper. “He said he understood my concerns but said that he was only 17 and that he didn’t see a problem with them dating.”
Gilstrap-Portley’s deception was finally revealed when one of his former coaches from North Mesquite High School recognized him during a tournament in April. The coach then got in touch with his counterpart at Hillcrest to inform him that “one of my former players who graduated a time ago is playing for you,” according to Harris.
“He was a good kid,” North Mesquite’s coach, Phillip Randall, told the newspaper. “I never had any problem out of him. That’s why I was shocked when I heard that all this came out because that’s not the kid that I knew.”
Gilstrap-Portley, who had no previous criminal history, was arrested Friday on a charge of tampering with government records. He was taken into custody at the Dallas County Jail but has since been released after posting bail, court records show.
School officials, meanwhile, notified parents of the bizarre incident in a letter Monday and vowed to review the district’s policies, KXAS reports.