Photo courtesy of the Rockville Ram’s webpage.
An investigation into the age of a freshman basketball player at Rockville High School was conducted after a blog post revealed he may be 4 years older than he claimed.
By: Rachel Auerbach, Sophia James, Iman Khosrodad, Lilly Behbahani, and Sydne Chesson.
Jimmy Sorunke, born Olojumi Abayomi Sorunke, is a 6 foot 10 Nigerian immigrant who helped the Rockville varsity basketball team to achieve a 14-11 record in the fall 2017-18 season. The Rockville men’s basketball team had struggled for many years, and Sorunke offered hope for a more successful program. However, information has arisen about Sorunke that, if true, would make him ineligible to participate in high school and basketball games in the future. An investigative report published by Deadspin discusses Nigerian blog posts that listed Sorunke as an 18-year old student at a college-level education institution two years ago. The article, from a website called MAPGIST, showed records that Sorunke’s birthday was June 11th, 1997, making him 20 years old. His guardian, Joe Boncore, denies the claim, arguing that he has seen paperwork stating that Sorunke is in fact 16 years old. The Montgomery County investigation is still ongoing as authorities try to determine the true age of Jimmy Sorunke.
Bethesda Chevy-Chase men’s basketball player Turner Payne commented that upon first impression he thought that Sorunke looked “about thirty-five years old.” Another Bethesda Chevy-Chase men’s basketball player, Thomas Baer, who faced Sorunke earlier this year in a competitive game with Rockville, found that Sorunke “was one of the tallest and heaviest guys [he’s] ever played.” Baer knew that the team had to adjust their game to accommodate Sorunke’s massive size advantage; they “tried to play at a faster tempo, [and] limit his touches in the paint.”
Sorunke proved to be a high scorer and the Rockville Rams basketball team record saw considerable improvements after his arrival. It is uncertain whether or not the basketball program will see parallel success in future seasons if the allegations about Sorunke’s age hold merit.