As we count down to the start of the basketball season, we’re going to be highlighting each member of the Syracuse basketball team. Today’s spotlight is on guard Michael Carter-Williams.
It is a good problem for any coach to have, yet it is still a problem.
Last year, Jim Boeheim had one of the deepest teams in the country, headlined by an experienced backcourt that included Scoop Jardine, Dion Waiters and Brandon Triche. Minutes were hard to come by, especially when it came to the fourth guard of that group, Michael Carter-Williams.
“I keep telling him that you’re playing behind one of the best backcourts in the country,” Boeheim said after a February win over St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. “I just haven’t figured out how to play four guards.”
Boeheim never fully figured that part out, as Carter-Williams didn’t log any minutes in the NCAA Tournament, and had 11 DNP-Coaches Decision during the entire season.
“It wasn’t always easy for him because he is very talented and in normal years he would have played more,” Boeheim said. “He had a sixth pick in the draft ahead of him (Dion Waiters) and two veteran, veteran guards (Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche). Any other year Michael would’ve played quite a bit.”
That will not happen this year, as Carter-Williams figures to slide into the starting point guard role with the departures of Jardine and Waiters.
Still, though Carter-Williams played sparingly last season, he did get some burn, and averaged 2.7 points and 2.1 assists in 10.3 minutes a game.
“I took it all as a learning experience that got me ready for this year,” Carter-Williams said. “I think it will definitely help.”
In some ways, Carter-Williams skipped what would’ve been many frustrating freshman moments.
“I think last year would’ve been an up and down year if he played a lot, but he’s way past that,” Boeheim said. “I think he’s ready to hit the ground running. I don’t anticipate him having anything other than the normal ups and downs that every player has when they’re freshman, sophomores.”
Inside Shot: “As a Freshman, stuck behind three experienced guards, MCW played sporadically, but managed to impress in limited action. Long, quick, and athletic, he has the physical tools to start and immediately become the break-out star many writers and fans are predicting him to be. But shining in scrub time is vastly different than orchestrating an offense in prime time, something MCW will be asked to do on a nightly basis. Last year, with Waiters and Jardine and Joseph, Syracuse ran a number of high-ball screens or simply allowed the guards to penetrate, creating chaos for opposing defenses, but unless MCW’s ball-handling has dramatically improved, expect Syracuse to run more off-ball screens and backdoor cuts and it will be his job to get into the lane and deliver the ball to his teammates.” —Nate Federman
- Birthdate: October, 1991
- Hometown: Hamilton, MA
- High School: St. Andrews School, R.I.
- Position: Guard
- Class: Sophomore
- Height: 6’8″
- Weight: 185lbs