By Robert Wilson

       Germantown High boys basketball program hasn’t had a winning season since the school opened 14 years ago.

       With the transfer of brothers Mike Williams and Mason Williams – sons of former NBA All-Star and NBA Champion Mo Williams – from Jackson Academy this week, Germantown has put together a team of foursome of star players and now has the potential to not only have its first winning season, but also be a state championship contender and one of the best teams in the South, if not the country.

The Williams brothers enrolled last week, Germantown principal Cody Zumbro said.

       In addition to the Williams brothers, Mikey Johnson – son of former pro basketball player Trey Johnson – transferred to Germantown from Vicksburg High at spring break and joined 6-foot-10 junior center Sam Funches, the No. 1 rated center and No. 8 overall player in the Class of 2026 by 247 Sports, who played for the Mavericks for the past two seasons.

       Mo Williams will be starting his third season as Jackson State’s men’s basketball coach and Trey Johnson is one of Williams’ assistant coaches.

       Now, their sons will be playing on the same high school team.

       “We are elated to have Mike and Mason at Germantown from the team, coaches and administrators,” said third-year Germantown coach Chris Love, who won a state championship as a player at Canton in 1997 and won a state title as a coach at Velma Jackson in 2019 and coached for five seasons at Velma Jackson and three at Canton in addition to Germantown. “I think the happiest person was Sam (Funches). They solve a lot of problems that we had last year as far as ball handling and shooting. With their addition, along with Mikey (Johnson), I feel we have the capability to be one of the top teams in the state and an opportunity to win a state championship.

       “The first thing I noticed about about Mike and Mason is how hard they work. They are working out two to three times a day on their game and wanting to be better. They are the definition of gym rats. We are looking forward to watching them play for Germantown.”

In addition to Funches, Germantown has one other returning starter, 6-4 junior guard Devin Moore, from last year’s team, which finished 14-17 and made it to the Boys State Tournament and lost in the Class 7A state semifinals to eventual champion Meridian last season.

         Mike Williams – a 6-foot senior who rated the No. 22 combo guard in the country in the Class of 2025 by 247 Composite and the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player of the Year – averaged 18.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.8 assists while playing an average of 24.8 minutes and led JA to a 36-1 record and the MAIS Overall Tournament championship, JA’s first since 2006, tying the most wins in school history and having the best record in school history.

Photo by: Mississippi Scoreboard

       Mike Williams – playing in the MAIS Class 6A, considered one of the toughest divisions in Mississippi – shot 49.5 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range, and 82.4 percent from the free throw line. He finished second in Mississippi in points per 32 minutes and 3-pointers made (86) and fourth in Mississippi in 3-point percentage.

       Mike Williams led JA in points per game, rebounds per game, steals per game, blocked shots per game and minutes per game, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage.

       He set a school record with 103 steals this season (Matt Neil had 102 in 2000-2001) and finished second in school history with 696 points (Hastings Puckett had 818 in 1994-1995. Williams also was only 3.2 percentage points in free throw percentage behind school record holder Rob Puckett, who made 85.6 percent in 2005-2006.

      Mike Williams – who has offers from Jackson State and Mississippi State – averaged 22.3 points, 9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in three victories over Madison-Ridgeland Academy this season, including 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the 70-59 win in the Overall championship game. 

Photo by: Mississippi Scoreboard

Mo Williams is considered one of Mississippi’s greatest athletes. He averaged 13.2 points and 4.3 assists during his NBA career, was an NBA All-Star in 2009, won an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavs in 2016 and announced his retirement. He scored 2,433 points at Murrah and was named the Mississippi Player of the Year as a senior in 2001. Mo Williams averaged 25.7 points, 8.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 steals and shot 59 percent from the field, 51 percent from the 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. He was the Sporting News National Freshman of the Year at Alabama and left the Crimson Tide after two seasons to enter the NBA draft. The 6-foot-2 point guard was a second-round pick by the Utah Jazz and played for seven NBA teams.

After his retirement, Mo Williams was an assistant for two seasons at Cal State Northridge under Mark Gottfried, who coached Williams at Alabama. Mo Williams was head coach at Alabama State for two seasons and replaced Wayne Brent as Jackson State’s head coach. This will be Williams’ third season at JSU.

       The 6-1 Mason Williams, a rising junior, averaged 9.6 points per game (second on the team behind his brother), 4.9 rebounds (second behind Mike), 3.5 assists (second behind Caleb Gaitor) and 1.6 steals. He was a third team All-Metro Jackson selection. Mason had a game-high 23 points, 5 of 9 from 3-point range, with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in JA’s win over MRA in the Overall championship game. He also had a career-high 27 points in a win to end MRA’s 24-game winning streak.

Photo by: Mississippi Scoreboard

       This is the second time in less than one year that the Williams brothers changed schools. 

       Mo Williams and Mike and Mason’s mom decided last fall that it would be Mike and Mason’s best interest to move from Dallas to Jackson to live with Mo. They decided JA would be the best fit and enrolled in October. 

       JA coach Jesse Taylor was expecting to have a good team last season, but when the Williams brothers surprisingly enrolled at JA, the Raiders’ expectations increased into a state championship and Overall tournament contender.

       Even with the loss of the Williams brothers, JA will still have a good team and compete for the MAIS Class 6A state title and Overall championship this season.

       “Raider Nation loves the Williams family,” said Taylor, who is entering his third season as JA’s head coach. “Mike and Mason will be successful wherever they are because of their high character. We wish them the best of luck on their endeavors.”

The 6-1 Johnson transferred after spring break to get a jump on next year and get used to the school. Trey, Johnson’s father, and Johnson’s mother, who lives in the Vicksburg district, had been talking about Mikey making the move for a while. They finally decided to make it during spring break.

Mikey Johnson, who is also playing on Germantown’s football team, comes from an athletic family. His grandfather, Clint Johnson, played pro baseball for several years (making to the Class AAA in the Boston Red Sox organization), coached baseball for many years at Lanier High and was the athletic director at Jackson Public Schools for several years before retiring three years ago. Mikey’s grandmother, Phyllis Johnson, played basketball at Mississippi University for Women.

Mikey’s father, Trey Johnson, was a star basketball and baseball player at Murrah High and was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals. He went on play both sports at Alcorn State and then Jackson State. Trey was named the SWAC Player of Year in basketball and finished second in the nation in scoring as a senior. He played on several NBA summer league teams and had several 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors and played pro basketball overseas for several years. Mikey’s uncle, Will Johnson, was a star baseball player at Murrah and Jackson State. Will’s daughter and Mike’s first cousin, Madison, is a sophomore on the Germantown girls basketball team.

Johnson averaged 10.6 points and helped Vicksburg to a 22-8 record and the MHSAA Class 6A quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Olive Branch, last season as a sophomore.

Funches averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots last season as a sophomore.

He has offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kansas, Gonzaga, Florida State, Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Arizona State, Wichita State and Creighton.

 Funches’ father, Sam, was an All-State player at Murrah High, was rated one of the top 10 power forwards in the country and played at Connecticut and North Texas.