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Mikey Williams' dream is to be a regular kid. That's hard when you have NBA talent at 16.

Mikey Williams' dream is to be a regular kid. That's hard when you have NBA talent at 16.

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MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. — When Patrick McCarthy became the head coach at Hunterville's Lake Norman Christian in January, he had heard plenty about Mikey Williams, the 16-year-old star of the team.

McCarthy had heard how the teenage prodigy had 2.7 million Instagram followers, including pro basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant; about how he was friends with — and had worked with — international rapper/actor Drake; and about how Williams may have had an ego to match his national ranking in the class of 2023: No. 2.

McCarthy knew that Williams had been social media famous since seventh grade — likely to be recognized nearly everywhere he goes — but he didn't want to let that cloud his first impression.

"My first question to him, was 'What drives you?' " McCarthy said. "He said, 'Competition. I want to be the best.' To hear that really proves he's different. I love that mentality.

"You hear rumors and your hear what a great athlete he is and he has this Instagram following, all of those type of things, but I wanted to get to know him as a kid, as a person away from all that. A lot of those things are cool, but at the end of the day, there's still a person up under there that has a lot of needs, and as a kid, too, you want to find a way to help motivate him and keep him on track as much as possible — because he's got a lot going on."

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