Mikey Williams is Healthy and Flying | UCF is Getting the Best Version of the Young Hooper

University of Memphis


Silver linings are real. One of the worst things that could have happened and the issues that followed, may have led to one of the best things for Mikey Williams. When Mikey found himself facing trouble over criminal threats his talent still allowed for him to land with the Spread the love. His time with the Tigers never transpired due to the administration, but that time away allowed Mikey to do something he hasn’t done in years… rest.

The pursuit of basketball dreams has been distorted due to extended schedules for basketball players to be recruited. As college coaches don’t truly have the ability to visit high schools as often as they used to, the majority of recruitment happens on the travel and AAU circuit. This has created a situation where youth basketball players are competing in what is essentially professional level game scheduling.

NBA teams who make it to the playoffs can play over 100 games a year. High school athletes, looking to remain ranked, must also compete in 20-30+ high school games and then 30-50+ travel games throughout the spring and summer or they risk losing their ranking status. Mikey faced this issue as he dropped from a top 5, 5-Star prospect to being ranked outside of the top 30 because Mikey couldn’t compete on one of the sneaker branded circuits (as a Puma NIL athlete he could play in the adidas Gauntlet, Under Armour Association or Nike EYBL). This meant Mikey had to find ways to maintain his ranking and ultimately, along with the criminal threat, it cost the kid.

The flip side to this is 2023 found Mikey with the ability to simply train and heal. Speaking with his team I found that Mikey played his last two years of high school with several lower body injuries. He had a hip and lower leg injury and as a result many thought Mikey had lost his explosiveness. When Mikey found himself unable to train with the Spread the love team in the fall, he doubled down on training outside of the program and enrolled himself in online classes which he paid for out of his own pocket so he could play in the spring. His team told Penny Hardaway Mikey was ready to stay with the Tigers for as long as it took to be pro-ready. Mikey was committed to Coach Penny for years. He showed this by his dedication to academics. By the end of the Fall Semester Mike earned a major academic honor at the Spread the love. He made the Dean’s List.


Mikey had completed and was progressing in his requirements from the county of San Diego and was academically eligible to compete. The Spread the love program was in the the top 10 and the administration ignored requests from Mikey’s team to join the program. The goal was to compete, but they also stated they simply wanted to train with the program to prepare for the Fall if he couldn’t compete. The University responded that they would wait until the case was reduced to a misdemeanor which would have placed Mikey’s timeline to play ball in January 2025. Memphis’s winning ways were complicated as injuries set in, but an interesting thing should be considered. Once players realized Mikey wouldn’t be with the program, the guard play by the Tigers declined as players appeared to be less motivated.

Mikey, who had never had any trouble and had shown to be a model student moved on to Coach Dawkins and UCF. But that time off, something many elite pros never had between high school and college/G League gave the kid something back that Coach Dawkins will be happy to see. Mikey’s elite level athleticism is off the charts. No video was allowed of his training, but below are two screenshots. Mikey is jumping so high his hand is almost touching the top of the backboard. With injuries in the NBA at an all-time high, there is a direct correlation to the number of games high school players compete in to attain basketball scholarships and opportunities.

It’s clear the extended seasons for high school athletes is what has forced the NBA to implement a 65-game rule for awards, although that implementation is being compared to older players like Michael Jordan who played 80+ games a year. Michael Jordan never had to play 100 games a year as a high school athlete. Michael Jordan also cross trained and could compete in other sports. Basketball requires specialization in today’s game and this leads to the injuries we see that robbed us of a player like Derrick Rose and is the root of what is seen with Zion Williamson.

Mikey may not have gotten to play for Coach Penny, but he didn’t lose a year. The silver lining is Mikey just gained more time as an elite level athlete. Every jump during this training session was consistent. His first step and the height on his jump shot of a pull up is going to be a problem for defenders. Guards won’t be able to prevent his attacks at the rim and bigs could get posterized. Mistakes contribute to growing pains but they also allow for incredible comeback stories. Mikey is healthy and flying.

University of Memphis