HOOPS HOAX: Man, 25, allegedly posed as teen to play basketball


Police say a 25-year-old man posed as a 17-year-old Hurricane Harvey evacuee at Dallas high schools for nine months in order to compete on the basketball court.

Sidney Gilstrap Portley was enrolled in two Dallas high schools for nearly nine months, claiming to be a Hurricane Harvey refugee.

The district tells WFAA students who've been through a natural disaster or are homeless aren't asked for the same documentation that's typically required, per federal law.

Gilstrap-Portley was named the offensive player of the year in his district, and was apparently convincing enough to fool Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

"He took that as an opportunity to gain access to our schools", said Dallas ISD spokeswoman Robyn Harris, per the Morning News.

The Morning-News notes that officials "believe his primary motivation was to play basketball".

North Mesquite Head Basketball Coach Phillip Randall was not the one who found him out, but he did help to confirm his identity to Hillcrest once one of the other former coaches had spotted him.

As a student, Gilstrap-Portley dated a 14-year old girl.

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The players knew Gilstrap-Portley as Rashun Richardson, age 17.

And the mother of his 14 year-old ex-girlfriend hit out at the deception, saying: 'I don't know...how (the school) let this slip through the cracks.

We recently became aware of a student enrolled at our school under false pretenses claiming to be a displaced Hurricane Harvey victim.

Last month, Gilstrap-Portley was arrested and charged with tampering with government records.

'To the parents, I apologize.

The scheme began to unravel in April, when a coach at North Mesquite High School, about a half-hour drive away from Hillcrest, saw Gilstrap-Portley playing at a tournament and recognized his former athlete.

This mother said her daughter told her that the two had kissed and he had touched her "inappropriately".

Hinojosa addressed a narrative that emerged in the wake of Gilstrap-Portley's arrest, in which he has been portrayed as an opportunist looking for one more shot at basketball glory. 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. "This is a unique situation that shows us areas that need improving when we open our doors to students in times of need".