Jackson State basketball coach Mo Williams is back in a place where everyone knows his name.
The notoriety is not borne of his 14-year NBA career or being an All-Star teammate of superstar LeBron James.
Williams was a high school basketball legend at Murrah High School, just a few miles from where he now coaches. And Jackson State is a place where several relatives matriculated, including his mother and father along with his brother.
After making the jump from Alabama State, there could not have been a better landing spot for Jackson’s native son.
“Just coming back and just me going to the grocery store or going to grab a bite to eat — just those interactions that I have with people that not only know Mo but they know Peanut,” said Williams during SWAC Media Day on Tuesday. I go places and it’s, ‘What’s up Peanut?’ It’s just a different feeling.
“It’s a different environment and it’s a lot of support because there’s a lot of excitement around our program.”
Williams, who takes over for Wayne Brent after announcing his retirement at the end of the 2021 season, carries a 14-35 coaching record with a 10-23 SWAC record.
The Tigers enter 2022-23 coming off an 11-19 overall record and 9-9 record in league play. The group will look different under Williams, with 10 new additions to the roster, including ex-Alabama State swingman Trace Young and transfer portal gets Romelle Mansel and Jaylon McDaniel.
Jackson State does return guard Gabe Watson who averaged 14.9 points per game and shot 38 percent from the field a year ago.
For Williams, he is hopeful to push Jackson State back into the conference championship contenders.
“It’s been a winning program for a long time and I think they are just on the edge right now of winning a championship and just trying to get over the hump,” he said.