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MCW is Absolutely Killing It, Double-Double Helps Lead SU Past Long Beach

The sophomore has another huge game, as the Orange is surging.

Nate Shron/Getty Images

Michael Carter-Williams soared in last night’s 84-53 SU steamrolling of Long Beach State. MCW might be the only point guard in the country that looks like a 7-footer when he skies to the rim. The sophomore made it a mission to attack the bucket, his most effective game getting to the basket all season. MCW finished with 15 points and 10 assists. It was his second consecutive double-double, and said after the game he’s had triple-double on his mind the last couple of weeks.  It’s games like this that show the wondrous development of his game in just one year.

Despite all this stellar play, there are a few reasons why it took Michael Carter-Williams a year to work himself into Jim Boeheim’s “Party of Nine” rotation. The questions about MCW being held back, or held down, last season are ludicrous. In one season his minutes have spiked from 10.3 per game to 31.7.

We can’t forget the depth from last year’s team. Boeheim had a fifth-year senior in Scoop Jardine, and the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft in Dion Waiters on his bench. It’s hard enough for a freshman to work himself into Boeheim’s rotation, especially with that combo a year ago. MCW didn’t play a minute in the tournament, and honestly probably shouldn’t. There was no need to rush the PG.

This year, Carter-Williams has learned to use his 6-5 frame to his advantage. Not only is he beating smaller guards off the dribble with a quicker first move, he’s using the length and the extra spring in his step to shield defenders while driving to the rim. This is the most impressive part of his game. It takes time to develop a game as unique as MCW’s. From day one this season he has felt this is his offense to run. Michael hasn’t had a problem challenging his teammates. He has 64 assists in his last six games. The consistency is what earns you solid minutes under The Per’fesser.

There have also been many times this season that MCW has tried to do too much on the floor. But his progression makes you smile from ear to ear. That’s what he’s shown more of during this brilliant stretch.

Jim Boeheim doesn’t hold players back. He develops them. Syracuse has its leader now. And it’s because MCW took the time to find his game and work at it. Just look at what Dion Waiters did in two years. He too, had trouble coping with Boeheim’s system. Orange Nation almost lost the superstar after his freshman year. It’s funny that Carter-Williams had a similar experience during the NCAA tourney in March questioning his minutes and how effective he could be at SU. One of the strongest quotes from Waiters after his Syracuse career was that Boeheim turned him “into a man.”

It’s all about progression. It’s the way he has always done it. Overreacting to MCW’s strong play right now and wondering if he should have played more a year ago means nothing. What matters now is that the future NBA PG is dominating the stat box. And more importantly, he’s leading SU on and off the court. That trust only comes with time.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

7 Comments on this Post

  1. MCW is gone after this season.Great that Ennis comes in when he does.I’d still like another quality ball handler in the program considering we lose Triche as well.

  2. I agree the most impressive part of his game is when he gets to the rim and his ability to shield off defenders and lay it in. He really is playing at a different level than anyone else right now – that being said the competition has been low. Hopefully he can continue this play on into Big Beast play.

    Syracuse again has the type of team where it can be anyone’s night. MCW and Fair played great last night and stole the show. I think Southerland only had one basket last night, but put up 35 against Arkansas. Not one guy has to be the go to scorer every night – there are so many options. The depth is outstanding.

    Two things I hope to see improve and fully expect will are Coleman’s ability to finish at the rim even when there is a little contact or foul and Cooney to show off this 3 point marksmanship I hear so much about. Freshman, I know. That being said, big upside to Grant – fits in well.

  3. Funny comment by the ESPN announcer last night – something along the lines of ‘it will be interesting to see if Triche can run the team with MCW on the bench’

    I mean, if that’s the ‘drop off’ that concerns people – the PG who played significant minutes his whole career backing up our sophomore star – I think that’s a problem I can live with!

  4. Great start to the season. Love the effort from everyone. I got a big kick out of Christmas going all out after a “lecture” from the coach. It seemed the other players decided to pick him up – it appeared that MCW told Rak to look for the lob out of the time out…

    The announcers were again quite clueless.

  5. Kevin Fitzgerald

    chris:
    I’ve been saying for a while, I think I’d actually be MORE surprised if MCW stayed another season. He could be a lottery pick next summer. I’m am, however, a little concerned with the way next year’s backcourt will look. It’s going to be Ennis’ show to run, and that’s it. Cooney really doesn’t have the instinctive ball-handling that Triche has this season to back up MCW.

    Mike:

    “I mean, if that’s the ‘drop off’ that concerns people – the PG who played significant minutes his whole career backing up our sophomore star – I think that’s a problem I can live with!

    Literally could not have said it better myself. I’m more than happy with Triche handling the ball w/ MCW on the bench. Like I said before, next year, ehhh, that’s another story….

    Sour:
    Contribution-wise, the W v. Long Beach State was the most complete from all 9 guys. Someone said it before and I was echoing the point during the game Thursday…LBSU is not some slack team. NCAA Tourney team from a year ago, but SU just kept piling it on, and piling it on.

    I might be crazy, but is it possible that this year’s team is better than 2011-2012???

  6. For me the best point guard to ever play for Syracuse was Sherman Douglas who holds the assist record established during the 1988/89 season with 326 assists.

    If Michael Carter Williams continues his play,I believe that he will break the record held by Sherman Douglas.

  7. Its like you learn my mind! You appear to know
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    percent to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
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