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Maryland High School Basketball Player Denies Claim He's 20 Years Old

A high school basketball player in Rockville, Maryland, is on guard after an online report claimed he is not 16 years old -- but 20.

At 6 foot 10, Jimmy Sorunke towers over his Rockville High School teammates. He makes about five-times more rebounds than the average high school player.

But he says that has nothing to do with his age.

"I’m 16 years old, I was born June 11, 2001," Sorunke said.

An article on the sports site Deadspin claims Sorunke was born in 1997.

The basketball player moved to Maryland from Nigeria last year. He showed News4 his passport and birth certificate, which both say he was born in 2001.

"I didn’t know they put me in their blog or anything like that. I was just a normal kid who plays pickup in Nigeria," Sorunke said.

He said he just wants to play ball, but the article has created issues.

"It has caused a lot of troubles. I’m out of social media now because I can’t talk to my friends," Sorunke said.

"There’s no way he can be 20 years old. For someone to say that - that’s insane to say. If you spend five minutes with him, he has more in common with elementary school kids than college kids," said Sorunke’s guardian Joe Boncore.

Boncore said Deadspin never reached out to them for an in-person interview.

News4 spoke to the Dave McKenna, who wrote the Deadspin story, over the phone. McKenna said he found a Nigerian blog that said Sorunke is 20 as well as evidence that Sorunke participated in a tournament for players 18 and older.

"The benefit of the doubt isn’t gonna go to him because of previous scandals with birth certificates from imported guys who want to play high school basketball in America," McKenna said.

Rockville High School's principal and basketball coach declined to comment. School officials said they were looking into Sorunke's age.

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