DALLAS — The new guard playing for the Hillcrest High School basketball team in Dallas turned a lot of heads this past season.
Rashun Richardson would sometimes drop 30 points or more in a game. He led his basketball team to the playoffs this winter and earned the district offensive player of the year award.
There was just one problem. Authorities say the supposedly 17-year-old was actually 25-year-old Sidney Gilstrap-Portley, looking for a second taste of athletic glory.
“He fooled us. He did,” said Christopher Bayer, the principal at Hillcrest High. “It’s painful to even say that because it hurts in both ways.”
Bayer said the news felt like a slap in the face because students accepted him and staff tried to support him after hearing a horrible story.
Gilstrap-Portley allegedly told officials he was a refugee of Hurricane Harvey and homeless. Dallas school superintendent Michael Hinojosa says in those situations, the district temporarily waives ID requirements.
But after nine months in the Dallas school system, one of Gilstrap-Portley’s former coaches tipped off authorities.
“This was a thirst that he had and he put everything at risk for himself and for us to live this charade,” said Hinojosa.
Last month, Gilstrap-Portley was arrested and charged with tampering with government records. But investigators are also looking into reports that he had a 14-year-old girlfriend. He is now out on bond, and if he had not been caught, he would have been nearly 30 when he graduated for the second time.