Photo by Brad Bridges

By Robert Wilson

       Junior guard Mike Williams scored four points in the final minute to help Jackson Academy escape with a three-point victory over Heritage Academy in Columbus in December.

       Williams – the son of former NBA champion and NBA all-star and Jackson State men’s basketball coach Mo Williams – was determined not to have to rely on last-minute heroics when JA played Heritage in a rematch last week in the MAIS Overall Tournament quarterfinals.

       The 6-foot guard made sure of that as he scored 29 points (11 of 18 from the field, 3 of 7 from 3-point range, and 4 of 5 from the free throw line) and had 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal and led JA to a convincing, 76-45 victory at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum/Mike Jones Court in Clinton.

       For his outstanding performance, Williams has been named the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

       Williams finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds in the 58-55 victory over Heritage in December, in one of JA’s toughest games of the season. He was named Player of the Week for that performance.

       JA got rolling early in the win last week with Williams led the charge. He scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the game as JA scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to take a 28-10 lead.

       “Mike was determined to advance to the next round of the Overall tournament,” second-year JA coach Jesse Taylor said. “Our team showed up in a big way against a very talented and well coached Heritage Academy team.”

Williams had been living with his mom and playing for Texas Class 5A public school Hillcrest in Dallas but moved to be with his father last September.

       Williams found a home at JA, and it worked out well.

       He averaged 18.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.8 assists while playing an average of 24.8 minutes per game and led JA to a 36-1 record (the best record in school history), the MAIS Class 6A state championship (first since 2014), the Overall title (first since 2006) and the No. 1 ranking in Mississippi, according to MaxPreps. He made 86 3-pointers (second most in Mississippi), shot 40 percent from 3-point range (second best in Mississippi). 

       Williams is the top-rated player in Mississippi in the Class of 2025 by 247 Composite. He is also rated the No. 22 shooting guard in the country in the Class of 2025.

“Mike has shown an exceptional ability to blend in at with JA basketball culture and helps raise the level of everyone around him,” Taylor said. “Mike is a high character kid and fit right in with our team and the school. Mike is a bonified scorer. He has another gear and is very athletic. Mike is a great teammate. He has some of the same mannerisms as his dad with his patience and pace. Mike is very unselfish. His work ethic really stands out.”

Williams just played two games last season before injuring his wrist and missed the rest of the season at Hillcrest. He averaged 14.2 points two years ago as a freshman on the varsity.

Mo Williams is considered one of best basketball players in Mississippi history. He averaged 13.2 points and 4.3 assists during his 13-year 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. 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 6-2 point guard was a second-round pick by the Utah Jazz and played for seven NBA teams.

After his retirement, Williams was an assistant for two seasons at Cal State Northridge under Mark Gottfriend, who coached Williams at Alabama. Williams was head coach at Alabama State for two seasons and replaced Wayne Brent as Jackson State’s head coach last season.

       Mike Williams is the son of Mo and Kesha Williams. Kesha is a graduate of Richland High and lives in the Dallas area. Mike has six brothers. Kydarrius played basketball at Madison St. Joseph and was a basketball manager at Alabama and now is an assistant coach at Jackson State. Maurice Jr. is a senior at JA. Mason is a sophomore and is Mike’s teammate on the basketball team. Max is in the fifth grade at JA. Asa is three years old, and Ezra is two years old.

Mississippi Scoreboard selects a boys basketball player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276. 

Previous Players of the Week

Week One: Mike Williams, Jackson Academy

Week Two: Dylan Rowe, Madison Central

Week Three: Eric Paymon, Raymond

Week Four: Ashton Magee, MRA

Week Five: Morris Hammond, Ridgeland

Week Six: Michael Wallace, McLaurin

Week Seven: Mason Williams, Jackson Academy

Week Eight: Avery Thomas, Terry

Week Nine: Eric Paymon, Raymond

Week Ten: Dylan Rowe, Madison Central

Week Eleven: Larrson Calhoun, St. Andrew’s