Coleman, Moten Say Syracuse's Carter-Williams Has Become Team Leader | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / April 22.
  • Coleman, Moten Say Syracuse’s Carter-Williams Has Become Team Leader

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    By JOSH NEWMAN

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Syracuse vs IndianaWASHINGTON, D.C. – Syracuse sophomore Michael Carter-Williams has morphed into one of the top point guards in college basketball this season and the legends of the program have taken notice.

    “He’s grown up so much,” 1990 Big East Player of the Year and 14-year NBA veteran Derrick Coleman told SNY.tv moments after Carter-Williams was named Most Outstanding Player of the East Regional by leading Syracuse to the Final Four thanks to a 55-39 win over Marquette at the Verizon Center. “He’s taken all the criticism and still maintained his confidence and just kept playing basketball. That’s what it’s all about. Once you’re out there on that court, you just have to play and that’s exactly what he’s done all season.”

    Carter-Williams, who is projected as the No. 15 pick in June’s NBA Draft according to DraftExpress, should he decide to leave Syracuse, has had his share of struggles on the court this season, but also off it.

    In early December, the 6-foot-6, 185-pound Carter-Williams was caught shoplifting at a Lord & Taylor before paying $500 to settle the situation.

    Last Saturday, his Hamilton, Mass. home burned down, but he played on anyway as the Orange advanced to the East Regional. He followed 24 points, five rebounds and four steals in Thursday’s upset over No. 1 seed Indiana by scoring 12 points, to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and five steals against Marquette.

    “This is what he’s been doing throughout the whole season,” senior guard Brandon Triche said. “He’s one of the most competitive guys that I’ve seen. He makes the winning plays, loose balls, things like that. It’s not all about points for him, it’s all about winning. He’s a great example to follow. The energy and things like that ‑‑ he makes me play harder on defense just seeing how active he is being able to get steals and things like that. It’s contagious.”

    Mere moments after the Orange had finished cutting down the Verizon Center nets, Carter-Williams began to make his way to the tunnel. While greeting fans in the stands, he got a tap on the back. Carter-Williams turned around and was greeted by a bear hug from Syracuse’s all-time leading scorer, Lawrence Moten.

    “We actually have a great relationship,” Moten told SNY.tv. “Michael’s a great guy and he works very hard. He played hard today and all these guys have been playing hard. I’m just so happy for Boeheim and I’m happy for the Big East. For the Big East to go out like this and go to a Final Four, it’s great to represent like this.”

    Syracuse is through to the Final Four for the first time since 2003 and the fourth time under Boeheim dating back to its first appearance in 1987. The Orange await the winner of Sunday’s South Regional final between Michigan and Florida.

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