Syracuse star point guard setting the pace for Orange
TribLIVE Sports Videos
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After sitting for much of the tail end of his freshman year and watching exclusively from the bench during the NCAA Tournament last spring, Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams is off to a stellar start as a sophomore.
After four games, Carter-Williams leads the nation at 9.3 assists per game and is tied for second in steals. He is clearly the catalyst for the high-powered Orange.
“I just try to pick apart the defense,” he said. “I've worked very hard at it, creating angles for my teammates to get open. I'm just getting communication with my teammates, getting more comfortable each and every day.”
That comfort level sure made Colgate coach Matt Langel a bit more uncomfortable than usual Sunday. A week after recording 11 assists in a win over Wagner, Carter-Williams had a career-high 13 against the Raiders.
Langel was not the least bit surprised. The 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams was a recruiting target when Langel was an assistant at Temple.
“He's a hard worker,” said Langel, in his second season with the Raiders. “His size at the point guard position is something that you don't find a lot in college basketball. I think he's still improving and his potential is probably untapped still at this point. He's understanding his role on this team to be a facilitator, and when he gets penetration to be able to see over the defense and find his big guys and find his shooters, with the minutes he's getting, I think he's starting to learn what he can do to really help this team.”
Carter-Williams has 37 assists with 11 turnovers, 16 steals, and is averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Syracuse (4-0) plays next at Arkansas (3-2) on Friday in the SEC/Big East Challenge, and so far, this Orange team is different from last year's model, when Dion Waiters, Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine shared most of the load at guard. Though adept passers, they looked to score and did, finishing second, third and fourth on the team behind Kris Joseph.
“Mike is really good with his eye. Coach says in practice, ‘Expect the ball any time because any time you're open, he's going to throw you the ball.' Sometimes, you don't expect it,” center Baye Moussa Keita said. “That's different this year.”
In the first four games, Carter-Williams has taken 36 shots — one fewer than his assist total. He is behind Triche (46) and James Southerland (38), and has one more than C.J. Fair.
“He's getting better,” coach Jim Boeheim said of Carter-Williams. “He still has a lot of work to do, but he's playing well. He's getting the ball in the right places.”
Syracuse will face an Arkansas team that thrives on pressure defense, and Carter-Williams will attract more than his share of attention. Triche says he's ready for the challenge of handling the ball more, even though he's struggled with 13 turnovers and only 12 assists in the first four games.
“They're very tough playing at home,” Triche said. “They're a transition team and they're going to press us the whole game, but I think we're ready for it. We've got guys that can handle pressure. These guys — one or two guys, sometimes three — are going to come at you at once. You're going to have to make different types of passes. I think we're going to be able to beat the pressure.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Researchers: U.S. lacks proving ground for nuclear energy innovations
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- Experts: Clinton took dangerous path with email system
- Charges held for court in robbery of Elizabeth gas station with machete
- Mon-Yough Laurels & Lances
- Penguins’ Lovejoy embracing defensive pairing with Pouliot
- Over the falls — Cucumber Falls that is — go 3 Kayakers in OhioPyle
- Rossi: Kang would benefit from less attention
- Ships Wheel Tavern owner known for food, beloved for compassion
- Big banks’ levels of capital strong, Federal Reserve finds
- Wolf reverses Corbett, says deal between Highmark, UPMC doesn’t limit continuity of care to very ill