“Clearly, we have all the legal documentation and you can put anything on a Web site that you want,” said Wootten, who became aware of discussion on local sports message boards disputing Etou’s age two weeks ago, “But the bottom line is we have all the legal documentation and we’re fully confident in that documentation.”
WCAC rules state that a student who turns 19 before Sept. 1 of his or her senior year is ineligible to compete. Leary confirmed Tuesday that he met with O’Connell President Katy Prebble late last week after receiving phone calls questioning Etou’s age. He was presented documentation by the O’Connell administration that verified Etou’s age and eligibility.
“I have looked at the school’s documentation and have seen a copy of his passport, and I am comfortable that the June 1994 listed on the passport is his birthdate,” Leary said. “I had concerns based on rumors I heard a couple weeks ago, so I went out and addressed those concerns with the [O’Connell] president when my schedule allowed me last week.
“As far as I’m concerned, the case is closed unless someone produces a legal birth certificate that says otherwise.”
Multiple WCAC coaches said they were aware of the message board rumors regarding Etou’s age but declined to comment.
Etou’s full name is Luc Tselan Tsiene Etou. According to the Deadspin.com report and a FIBA Web site, Etou played for the Congo Republic national team in the 2009 FIBA Africa Championship in Libya. On that team roster, Etou’s birthdate is listed as “4 June 1992.” The same birthdate is listed under Etou’s name on Congo Republic’s roster that competed in the Africa U-18 Championship in May 2010 and on a Web site listing players involved in a 2010 Basketball Without Borders camp.
Etou transferred to O’Connell from Arlington Country Day (Fla.) last March. He lives with Monica Malone, the mother of Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith, in Upper Marlboro while his parents remain in Congo Republic. In a recent conversation, Wootten said Etou’s father told him that he is working to contact FIBA Africa and fix what they, along with Prebble, deem as an error concerning Etou’s birthdate.