If you care about baseball a little - or as much about the Indians as I do - you've probably heard by now that the Indians employ(ed(?)) a pitcher named Fausto Carmona who was actually Roberto Hernandez-Heredia. Heredia is actually three years older than he pretended to be as Carmona. His season is in serious jeopardy as he is detained in the Dominican Republic, and his future in Major League Baseball is probably questionable at best at this point. I won't get into all the specifics, but his thought process is not difficult to follow. Faced with the opportunity to pretend to be someone he wasn't to escape poverty and have a chance to make enough money to support himself and literally dozens of his loved ones, he pulled the trigger. The decision probably wasn't difficult.
You've probably also heard of Danny Almonte. If he hadn't lied about his age, I promise you never would have. The reason I'm posting this on here is this: why don't we see this happening in college hoops? Is it not happening, or is nobody getting caught? I know that it can be a lot more difficult to fake an identity in the US than in the Dominican Republic, but with what's at stake, is someone trying? A stat line that would be eye-catching from a 14 year old is merely pedestrian coming from 16 year old. There is a free education at stake, and - for some players - a future in the NBA or playing abroad. If you can't or don't want to make a living some other way - or you're a basketball dad/mom/uncle/whatever who wants to see his/her player succeed - would you roll the dice? Is it better to risk being caught in a lie or to risk seeing your kid end up without a degree or a future?
How does that translate to a fan? "Fausto" gave me one of the most thrilling moments of my life as an Indians fan, firing 100-poound sinkers past the Yankees through a swarm of midges that would have - and did - rattle a lesser man. Realizing he was three years older than he pretended to be at that time doesn't change that for me. Would you feel any different about Lionel Chalmers' magical run to the Elite Eight if you found out he was 26 when it happened? Would this moment mean less if Jordan Crawford was 27 when he lifted off the floor and blew Gus Johnson's mind? I don't know what your answer might be, but I know what mine is.