Two weeks ago, an article on Deadspin.com presented evidence that O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) basketball star Junior Etou was 20, not 18, as the school claimed. Deadspin specifically cited International Basketball Federation (FIBA) records, which indicate Etou, a Republic of Congo native who has played in FIBA events, was born in 1992.
Knights coach Joe Wootten rebutted the report in separate interviews with The Washington Post and MaxPreps.com, and told both outlets that O'Connell had legal documentation proving that Etou was, in fact, 18. The Post also reported that Etou's father told Wootten he planned to contact FIBA about changing his son's records to reflect his correct birthdate.
On Sunday, Wootten told the Arlington Connection that the controversy over Etou's age was a "dead issue."
FIBA disagrees, as Deadspin reports today. A statement released yesterday by FIBA spokesman Simon Wilkinson reads, in part:
Please be informed that we have not (yet) heard from the player's family regarding any corrections to be made to our database. It is our understanding that the player, his family and the school maintain that the player is in possession of a passport with a date of birth in the year 1994. While FIBA has never been provided with such copy, we do not challenge the fact that a passport indicating 1994 as the year of birth may indeed have been issued.
We do however confirm being in possession of an official copy of the player's birth certificate issued by the civil authorities of the Republic of Congo indicating the following date of birth: 4 June 1992.