Answering the Leadership Call

When Syracuse's young guard struggles, so, too, do the Orange. With Carter-Williams spreading the ball around and the team hitting shots, Syracuse has become dangerous at a crucial time. He speaks with CuseNation.com inside.

Syracuse Orange sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams has gone through growing pains in his first season as a starter.

It is to be expected when one makes a jump from coming off the bench as the fourth guard option to becoming the first guard and floor general as a starter in just one season's time.

In his new role, during closely-contested matches this season, Carter-Williams have been called upon to be a leader for the Orange.

Sometimes, as in Syracuse's contest with the Louisville Cardinals on the road, Carter-Williams has been a decisive factor in the positive sense, making two late steals, getting to the rim, and connecting from the free throw line.

In other cases, such as on the road against the Villanova Wildcats, the young guard was decisive in securing a Syracuse loss. Up by three with 19 seconds remaining, Carter-Williams missed a free throw that would have put the Orange up by four. Instead, Wildcats' freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono hit a three, forcing overtime, where the Orange would end on the wrong side of the win-loss column. Carter-Williams also had two late turnovers in the second half of that match.

But against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Big East Conference Tournament, Carter-Williams made himself an aid to the Orange again, making all of his final four free throws to help place Syracuse into the tournament' final four.

"I just try to come up big in the end and just try to solidify the win," said Carter-Williams. "They (Syracuse teammates) did a great job throughout 34 minutes of the game, 35 minutes of the game, and I think it was my time to contribute. And it was just an overall, it was a great game by our team."

Carter-Williams has worked to find his teammates for good opportunities to score, and has been successful, in the Big East Tournament. Though he did not score in the first half versus Pittsburgh, Carter-Williams had five assists and the Orange had accumulated 40 points. "I try to get my teammates the ball," Carter-Williams stated. "James [Southerland] was hot, C.J. [Fair] was shooting the ball well, and also Brandon [Triche] was, so I try to find them and have them make plays."

With the success the team has had in forwards, senior James Southerland and junior C.J. Fair, shooting the ball, Carter-Williams has seen the positives for himself and fellow guard, senior Brandon Triche, moving forward. "It's great," Carter-Williams expressed. "It makes our job a lot easier."

Carter-Williams leads the Orange into the Big East final four creating points off of no less than seven assists in each of the last two games, while going 8-for-10 from the charity stripe.


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