This is Part IV of a 9-day extravaganza that takes a look at each expected rotation player for Syracuse’s 2012-2013 season. I’ll discuss some of their career in Orange up to this point, and what I feel needs to happen with that player for Syracuse to make a Final Four run.
We continue our coverage with a highly touted recruit who we are are anxiously waiting to see in his Sophomore season: Michael Carter-Williams. Huge thanks to Orangehoops.org for all of the valuable research material.
Check other installments of this series here:
Michael Carter-Williams, Sophomore
Role: Starter, Playmaker
Best Case Improvement: Adding muscle, confidence
While I believe Brandon Triche will be the heart of next year’s team and CJ Fair will be the do-everything sidekick, perhaps the most important x-factor this upcoming season is MCW. No other player has the potential to break out quite like Michael can given his freakish bodytype and ability to make plays as a lanky point guard.
A 2011 McDonald’s All American, Carter-Williams would have gotten big minutes on 95% of the teams in college basketball. Walking into a veteran-laden roster on a top-5 team in the country, Michael instead sat behind more experienced players. As we’ve come to expect with Boeheim, only the freshman anomalies play over his veterans, and MCW was no exception. When he did get his chances though, he played very well as evidenced during games against St. John’s and UConn (the plays he made in Storrs transcended his stat sheet).
Scoop, Dion, and Kris Jo are all gone now, and with those absences comes MCW’s time to shine. The jump from Freshmen to Sophomore year is big for the development of any player. These guys are usually spending the summers in Syracuse conditioning and playing all day, and the mental advantage of knowing what to expect during a season can’t be understated. Throw all of this into the fact that Michael will be counted on to start and log big minutes, easing any worries of being benched, and you have a recipe for a potentially huge year.
As anyone who has seen MCW can attest, his frame can OBVIOUSLY use some filling out. One of the running jokes of Syracuse fans all year was that he didn’t look any older than 15 or 16. I’m hoping the aforementioned summer of conditioning, as well as another year to grow into his 6’5 frame, will do Michael some good.
As far as confidence goes, I really think Carter-Williams has the mental makeup to thrive. It wasn’t so much a lack of confidence that kept him on the bench most of the year, rather than it was the people playing in front of him. Some can even point to his brief shouting match with JB against Connecticut in the Dome as evidence that MCW believes in what he’s capable of. Nonethless, you can never be sure how these guys will handle being thrown into the spotlight, so it will still be important for him to come in with focus.
Michael Carter-Williams has all the physical tools and enough fire, in my opinion, to make a huge impact on the team this year. We could potentially be seeing a player unlike any other in Syracuse history, given his size, playmaking ability, and athleticism. Let’s not forget, this is a guy who won the Micky D’s skills competition against the likes of Brad Beal and Myck Kabongo. He can really play, and I think he will prove that to the nation this season.
– Kevin Cartini