April 14, 2023

Memphis basketball recruit Mikey Williams faces gun charge

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Mikey Williams, the elite and popular basketball prospect who is set to attend Memphis next season, was arrested Thursday in San Diego on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Per San Diego Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Gavin Lanning, Williams — ranked 34th in ESPN’s list of the top-100 recruits in the 2023 class — paid a $50,000 bond and was released at 12:14 a.m. on Friday. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday.

There are multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon against Williams, according to police documents, but he is probably facing one charge, per Lanning. Williams is accused of violating California penal code Chapter 9, a (2), which involves “any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm.” The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.

In a statement, Memphis said it was “aware of the situation and [is] gathering more information.”

Williams has been a household name in the grassroots basketball world since early in his high school career, when he became a YouTube sensation with his highlight videos.

He was named the 2019-20 MaxPreps national freshman basketball player of the year at San Ysidro (California) before transferring to Lake Norman Christian (North Carolina).

He had nearly four million Instagram followers at the time of his commitment to Memphis and has more than two million TikTok followers.

In October 2021, Williams became the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company when he signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Puma.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard, was a prized recruit in Penny Hardaway’s next recruiting class. While he’d toyed with potentially attending an historically Black college a couple of years ago, Williams ultimately chose to play with the Tigers. He signed a letter-of-intent with Hardaway’s program in November.

Williams’ arrest continues a spate of gun-related incidents that have rocked college basketball this year. In February, New Mexico State canceled its season and fired former head coach Greg Heiar after one of his players was involved in what police called a self-defense shooting. Multiple players and coaches from NMSU were attached to the aftermath of that incident, according to police and school investigations.

Also in February, police said Brandon Miller, the former Alabama star and projected top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft, transported the weapon that was used in the killing of Jamea Jonae Harris that resulted in murder charges against former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man.

On a recent appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Williams said he hopes to be smart about his investments in the future.

“I’m trying to be worth a billion dollars by the time I’m 25,” he said.

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