Michael Carter-Williams will be giving the keys to a whole new team when the Philadelphia 76ers begin the season with the world champion Miami Heat on Oct. 30. He will have big shoes to fill, but it isn’t like the young talented point guard isn’t used to pressure.
Carter-Williams came to Syracuse as a highly heralded recruit out of Hamilton, Massachusetts. His freshman year, he was surrounded by upperclassmen who made his playing time scarce. Syracuse, a nationally ranked team and legitimate Big East title contender, could not afford to put its season in the precocious hands of a neophyte.
The Orangemen were led by the guard trio of Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters and lost in the Elite Eight to Ohio State, while Carter-Williams could do nothing but watch.
His sophomore season, legendary coach Jim Boeheim handed the reins to Carter-Williams expecting to expand on the success the team saw last season. The 6’6” point guard responded with eight double-doubles during the season and ranked third in the nation with assists at 7.7 a game.
Carter Williams saved his biggest game for when the Orange had to play the No. 1 overall seeded Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA tournament. Against fellow lottery pick Victor Oladipo, the Syracuse point man had his finest game of the season. Against the Big Ten defensive stalwart, he had a career high 24 points and led the Orange again to the Elite Eight for their second consecutive season.
During the draft, the 76ers traded Jrue Holliday, their best player, for a fresh new start at the position. By drafting Michael Carter-Williams, they have a point guard with a bright future and someone who succeeds when being held to the fire.