How Will Carter-Williams Effect the Minutes in a Deep Guard Rotation?

MCW and his hair will battle for serious minutes for the Orange.

Last season’s SU guard play was much like this year’s edition of the football team – consistently inconsistent. Scoop Jardine had great games, but most fans were petrified of him late in games due to some key turnovers and poor decisions. Brandon Triche was dominant when SU was winning, but typically absent in the games they lost. Then there was Dion. Oh boy, Dion. All three are back with fresh attitudes, better bodies (except Triche who was already in ideal shape and maintained it) and a hunger to be better. And they’re trying to hold off a freshman. Insert Michael Carter-Williams.

As a general rule of thumb, you’re not allowed to get excited over a scrimmage. SU fans know this better than anyone since last year Fab Melo looked amazing at Midnight Madness then proceeded to have a Nikoloz Tskitishvili-esque hype to production ratio. But when your 6’5” young guard (hair pictured above) slams one legitimately over your 7’1” newly-athletic-again center, you’re allowed to get a little pumped. (And how about Fab playing defense all scrimmage? A new concept for him.) Carter-Williams has serious game and The Fizz would be shocked if he doesn’t contribute in a major way this year.

Carter-Williams tells The Fizz he’s worked a lot with Andy Rautins, who has been practicing with the Orange during the NBA lockout. Rautins was not only a great sharpshooter, but also one of the best zone defenders the Per’fessor has ever had at the top of the 2-3. He knew how to shoot passing lanes and create turnovers, something that SU severely lacked last year. With similar length as Rautins, MCW could find his way into major minutes with a dedication to the defensive end.

As for how Jimmy B will actually split up the minutes remains to be seen. None of the players know because Boeheim doesn’t know yet. The first full practice was this past weekend (the team mainly works out over the offseason without coaching staff). We’ll probably see 30-35 minutes for Scoop and Brandon, 25-30 for Dion and 15-20 for MCW. If any of them gets hot, it’s up to Boeheim to adjust accordingly. Also don’t rule out Trevor Cooney getting 10-15 as a shooting specialist. When Gerry McNamara says you’re the best shooter he’s ever seen, you can shoot.

Guard play should obviously be a strength for the Orange. If the three returning guards live up to their preseason talk – Scoop in better shape, Dion having a revamped offensive game, and Brandon realizing he’s typically the best player on the court – the top 5 ranking won’t be a problem to maintain. Add in Carter-Williams and his go-go gadget arms and the Final Four might not be so far fetched.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

14 Comments on this Post

  1. You do realize thee is only 40 minutes in a college hoop game, correct? With that said, you write…

    “As for how Jimmy B will actually split up the minutes remains to be seen. We’ll probably see 30-35 minutes for Scoop and Brandon, 25-30 for Dion and 15-20 for MCW. If any of them gets hot, it’s up to Boeheim to adjust accordingly. Also don’t rule out Trevor Cooney getting 10-15 as a shooting specialist.”
    Does this mean that Jimmy B. is going to play a 3 guard rotation for first time EVER??? If not, there is no chance for the above minutes to even come close to being correct…

  2. Hey you forgot to mention our best guard in your back court assessment: Mookie Jones! HAHA! That was obviously a joke… if he hasn’t seen the court yet, he definitely won’t with Scoop, Triche, Waiters, Carter-Williams, and Cooney ahead of him. He may even rival with Brandon Reese for PT. Even in something like the Colgate game which we should win like a million to zero, he still may only see a few minutes of action. This could be the only real potential problem this year: Syracuse has so many people who can play and contribute right away that finding adequate PT for all of them will be a real challenge. Do you consider going with something like a 3 or maybe even 4 guard lineup against smaller teams, or do you still only play 2 out of those 5 guards at a time and still keep your front court in tact? I guess the amount of minutes each guard gets will very much depend on how guys like Kris Joseph, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, Rakeem Christmas, Fab Melo, and Baye Moussa Keita do. If that unit struggles, I would consider playing more guards… may hinder our 2-3 zone defense a little, but imagine how potent an offense we will have if and when we ever get MCW AND Cooney on the floor at the same time? On paper, it’s as if this team is capable of blowing almost everybody out (except Pitt, UCONN, and the ‘Ville).

  3. @august, last time i check there were two guards so that would make for 80 mins

  4. August –

    You can mix and match the minutes to make it work but to get all those guys minutes it wouldn’t surprise me to see 3 guards at some point this year. The SF position is the weakest in terms of depth on the team in my opinion with 1.5 players. Kris Joseph is your guy, CJ Fair is your half because he doesn’t have the perimeter skills to play the 3 on the offensive end yet. With the talent SU has and the overwhelming athleticism on this team, going small would benefit them.

    How to defend in the zone is a concern if you go 3 guard, but it can be done. MCW is 6’5″, but he’s rail thin and that’s a major concern if you stick him down low. I’d say Triche is the most likely to shift down because of his bulk/height combo. We’ll find out soon enough.


  5. August is spot on.

    Hoffman has accounted for 5 guards to get between 100 and 135 minutes a game. That is wayyyyy off. 135 minutes means the guards aren’t only cutting into the 3 spot but also playing 15 minutes a game at the 4. That means 25 minutes to split the 4 spot between Fair, Joseph, Southerland, and Christmas. HA
    If it’s on the low end of his prediction then that means they get 100 minutes so we will be playing a 3 guard lineup half the time. That would leave 60 minutes of playing time for Joseph, Fair, Southerland, and Christmas. I just don’t see it happening. I don’t expect guards to play a single minute at the bottom of the zone, 80 minutes a game total for all 5.

  6. Madmartigan

    Cooney isn’t getting any minutes. Carter-Williams will get a handful during the non conference portion of the schedule but back on the bench when the rotation shortens for conference play. Scoop/Triche/Waiters are going to eat up all the guard minutes. Joseph/Fair/Southerland split the SF minutes, Christmas/Southerland split the PF minutes, Fab/Baye/Christmas split the Center minutes.

  7. I think it would be a mistake to not give this kid some serious minutes. I like Cooney a lot too, but I say redshirt him.

  8. Math was never my strong suit, but the numbers aren’t off by much. Maybe it’s more of the low end in most games but I think in individual games you might see those high numbers if a guy gets hot.

    Cooney is the interesting dynamic. Do they redshirt him? I don’t know. I honestly think it depends on how well Triche, Waiters and MCW shoot. If they shoot well, he’s got no use. If they struggle, he’s your deep specialist. You don’t want Christmas at the Center spot. He’s better suited on the wing and that means Fab/Baye are in trouble. Southerland is your 10th guy. I would much rather see a 3 guard lineup with MCW getting run than Southerland out there unless he can play against BE competition like he did against Morgan State last year and defend.

  9. Lets talk football in March to please!!!

  10. Football in March. Basktball season starts in 2 weeks. That would be like talking football in mid August, not March.

    Redshirt for Cooney seems like a logical decision but it hasn’t been something that happens often. The last not medical redshirt I can think of is Gorman who redshirted his senior year I believe and came back as a 5th year senior. Cooney has 4 years to get to where he wants to be, that is plenty of time, no reason not to start now with 5 or 10 minutes here and there in the nonconference.

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