Mikey Williams, an elite basketball player who had millions of followers on social media, pleaded not guilty to multiple counts related to a shooting at his home during a hearing Thursday in San Diego.
Williams appeared via video conference over safety concerns, cited by his attorney, Troy P. Owens. He only spoke a couple of times, and when asked by Supreme Court Justice Louis R. Hanoian if he understood his rights and told he was not allowed to possess guns or ammunition, he replied, “Yes sir.” , to stay at large a $50,000 bond.
Williams, who will play for Penny Hardaway and Memphis next season, was arrested last week for five assaults with a gun and shooting an occupied vehicle. According to police, Williams fired a gun at a car full of people who had just left his apartment. The arrest was preceded by a search of William’s home.
“Five people got into a car and shots were fired as they drove away,” the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s incident report said. “The car was hit, but no one was hurt.”
Owens said the incident came after an “argument” at William’s home near San Diego.
Owens added after Thursday’s brief hearing that he had requested that Williams appear via video conference over threats “that are public and online.” He did not want to give any further details.
Williams will be represented by Owens at a June 15 readiness hearing, but he has been ordered to be present in person at the preliminary hearing scheduled for June 29.
Williams, ranked No. 34 in ESPN’s 2023 recruit class, had millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram before deleting his accounts following his arrest. Last week, Memphis released a statement saying the school was “collecting more information.”
Hardaway told The Commercial Appeal earlier this week that he “didn’t have enough information” to comment on the case of Williams, a 6-foot-2 prospect.
Williams’ arrest continues a string of gun-related issues that rocked college basketball this year. In February, New Mexico State called off its season and fired coach Greg Heiar after one of his players was involved in a so-called self-defense shootout. According to police and school investigations, several NMSU players and coaches were linked to the aftermath of this incident.
Also in February, police said Brandon Miller, the former Alabama star and a prospective top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft, transported the gun used in the killing of Jamea Jonae Harris, leading to murder charges against former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man.
East Michigan’s Emoni Bates, who played in Memphis last year, was reinstated ahead of the 2022-23 season after gun crime charges against him were dismissed following a plea deal.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.