Charlotte high school basketball star Mikey Williams signs with sports management firm

Five-star basketball recruit and Mikey Williams has signed a deal with a sports management firm to handle the marketing of his name, image and likeness.

Excel Sports Management announced Thursday the signing of Williams, a rising junior who played last season at Lake Norman Christian high school in Huntersville. Williams, who moved to the Charlotte area from California last year, has more than 3 million followers on Instagram he could leverage into financial gain.

“Thanks to a combination of hoops, hustle and swag, Mikey is one of the most engaging elite youth athletes with a reputation and skillset that is off the charts,” Excel wrote in a release. “He represents today’s zeitgeist, with a community of followers he has developed through creative, curated and compelling content.”

Next season, Williams will still take classes at LNC, his father told The Observer, but will instead play basketball at Vertical Academy, a new program located in the Charlotte area. Vertical Academy is not overseen by either of North Carolina’s high school sports governing bodies — the NCHSAA (mostly public schools) or the NCISSA (private schools). The NCHSAA and NCISSA are essentially local arms of the National Federation of High Schools, which prohibit high school athletes from profiting from the name, image and likeness (NIL).

The NCAA relented earlier this month and allowed college athletes to profit from their NIL without compromising their amateur status and losing eligibility.

Williams is ranked as the No. 8 basketball prospect in the Class of 2023 and averaged 21.2 points per game for Lake Norman Christian last season. His games were often attended by NBA stars, including Charlotte Hornets Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.

He’ll be eligible to enter the NBA Draft in 2024.