Since recording four assists in the opening game of the seasons versus San Diego State, Syracuse Orange sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams has made no less than nine assists in seven straight games.
He raised the bar to a new level in Syracuse's last match against Monmouth, setting a new single-game career high with 16 assists.
"My job on the team is to find everybody else," said Carter-Williams. "For me to be unselfish is a thing I wanna do. I know what the team needs and I'm willing to do whatever the team needs."
While finding his teammates, Carter-Williams is not forgetting to take his own opportunities when they come. "I just try to find the open man and if I see an open lane, then Ima take it," expressed Carter-Williams. In the last four games, Carter-Williams has attained a double-double, with three of the four double-doubles coming in the categories of assists and points.
Although Carter-Williams admits that turnovers have also come this season, the floor general has kept his positive outlook in his new leadership role. "I look back at some of them as like I shouldn't of made that pass, but it's all about learning," shared Carter-Williams. "I need to cut down on my turnovers, and that'll happen. A few things, it was a miscommunication and ended up a turnover on my end, which is fine. But we just need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what's wrong."
When his turnovers have come, he has responded by telling his teammates, "Just move onto the next play ‘cause you can't go back and change it," remarked Carter-Williams. "I do take full responsibility for the turnovers that I [have]…even if somebody else has a turnover, I'm gonna move onto the next play, so my teammates know that if I turnover the ball…just to move on, ‘cause I can always make it up on the defensive end, and that's what I try to do."
Carter-Williams has lived by his words. In all of Syracuse's eight match-ups, he has amounted no less than three steals.
Keeping with negating opportunities for opponents, Carter-Williams has also gotten involved with blocking shots, equaling the highest output for the Orange versus the Hawks of Monmouth with fellow sophomore, forward Rakeem Christmas, with four.
But, Carter-Williams is not taking all of the credit. Speaking on fellow guard, senior Brandon Triche's, consistency, Carter-Williams said, "It means a lot. He's a big part of the team. He's a leader on the team. He's definitely the scorer and it greats to have him. He's an unbelievable player." Triche has recorded double-digits in scoring in all of the team's eight games.
Staying in the backcourt, Carter-Williams offered his thoughts on redshirt-sophomore guard Trevor Cooney. "He's playing great," shared Carter-Williams. "He's playing with a lot of confidence. We need him, We're gonna need him to knock down shots, get to the basket, and just be a player and not just a shooter, ‘cause we know he's gonna shoot. We know he's gonna knock down shots. It's just a matter of time when he started to make ‘em." Cooney has attained double-figures in each of Syracuse's last three games, raising his single-game high once again, this time to 15, in the match against Monmouth.
"We just need him to do a lot of things, which he is, and that's what we needed," continued Carter-Williams. Even in games where he struggled to score, Cooney made sure his presence on the floor resulted in something positive for the Orange. He has achieved rebounds on both sides of the floor, made assists, blocked shots, and gotten steals.
Taking a look at the backcourt as a whole, Carter-Williams, reflecting on their play in the 2-3 zone, said, "We're doing great. I think we're limiting penetration and keeping the ball up front. And we got some steals and deflections and it leads into our offense, which is good."
Syracuse is known for their abilities to capitalize in transition. Asked who is the most tenacious dunker of the backcourt, Carter-Williams responded, "That's a tough one. I just get excited. I don't know what it is. I just get excited when Trev (Trevor Cooney) goes up to dunk the ball ‘cause a lot of people don't know he can, so…it's exciting."
"I know last year people saw me have a good dunk, so people [have] seen what I've got," added Carter-Williams. "Brandon's been here for four years, they've seen him, so it's nice to have somebody else that people haven't seen."