California’s Crown Jewel: Mikey Williams

Luke I. ’23

Basketball has taken over the global world of sports with transcendent superstars and authoritative presences in Asia and Africa. Basketball has long since passed slower games like baseball and American-only games like football and it’s pushing soccer for global recognition as the most popular sport in the world. However, even with its expansive growth around the globe America is still where basketball originated and flourishes, and within America, California has been the largest producer of basketball stars. Household names like Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Love have all come from California. All these superstars brought California national recognition as having the “best hoopers in the world.” However, post-2010, California has struggled to produce high school stars with Aaron Gordon, Stanley Johnson, and Lonzo Ball being the only great high school players to make the NBA. Lamelo Ball did play one year in California, but his adventures in Latvia and Australia make him an international prospect rather than a California prospect. This lull of a lack of high school stars has caused many analysts and basketball fans to claim that Texas is the home of the best high school basketball players. But that narrative has shifted all because of California’s newest high school superstar: Mikey Williams.

A 6’2, 175-pound combo shooting guard from San Ysidro, California (which is located just outside of San Diego) has completely changed the high school basketball landscape. Mikey Williams burst onto the scene in 2019 when he scored 41 points in his high school debut as a 15-year-old. Mikey followed up that performance with a 77-point game which broke the CIF San Diego single-game scoring record. These astounding performances as a freshman garnered national attention for Mikey who quickly became a basketball icon as he earned his own television show with Overtime, called Fear Nothing. Mikey Williams fed into the hype with massive performances and live claims on national television that he was the “best player in high school” as a freshman. In a truly remarkable whirlwind of a freshman season, Mikey averaged 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and  4.9 assists a game. Mikey led San Ysidro to its first-ever sectional title. But, sadly San Ysidro and Mikey Williams came up short in the State Playoffs (Division four) as they lost to Palisades in the quarterfinals. And so the greatest statistical freshman season by a high school basketball player came to an end.

Many expected Mikey Williams to dominate the high school landscape for the next four years in California with his hometown San Ysidro. But, due to the coronavirus, Mikey Williams moved to North Carolina to play at Lake Norman Christian in pursuit of better competition and basketball games that weren’t restricted by Covid-19. Mikey spent his sophomore and junior seasons playing for Lake Norman Christian in Hunterville, North Carolina, and Vertical Academy, a high school team created by his father where he teamed up with fellow phenom Trey Parker to create the most dangerous AAU backcourt in history. Trey Parker went viral for a series of incredible windmill dunks and is a four-star recruit. In North Carolina, Mikey Williams continued to dominate the high school basketball landscape as he continued to win games and average video game numbers. However, he still had unfinished business left in California. In a shocking announcement in early April of 2022, Mikey Williams decided to move back to San Diego in pursuit of a California State Championship.

Mikey Williams announced on his Instagram that he was transferring home for his senior season. It’s tough to put into words what it means. Similar to LeBron in 2015, Mikey Williams has decided to come home in order to give San Diego a high school basketball championship. Mikey Williams brings prominence to San Diego and California basketball for the first time in years. When November comes around all eyes will be on Mikey Williams as he tries to bring his hometown a state championship. It’s a powerful sentiment from a seventeen-year-old who has the capabilities to change San Diego basketball forever. It’ll be tough sledding for San Ysidro as they must play perennial powerhouses like Sierra Canyon, Centennial, Clovis West, Mater Dei, and Campolindo all ranked in the top 10 in California this year, while San Ysidro was #67 in the state. However, I wouldn’t bet against Mikey Williams on his quest to bring San Diego basketball glory. 

Categories: Sports

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