His improvement didn’t happen because he willed it to happen. For 73 consecutive days last summer, Carter-Williams worked out three times a day, lifting weights at Gordon College in Wenham in the morning, shooting endlessly in the afternoon at home and playing in pickup games at Ipswich High or the YMCA at night.
At the same time, he was pushing ahead academically. A communications major, Carter-Williams has a 3.1 grade point average is on pace to graduate after just three years at Syracuse.
“We’ve never had a player like him who didn’t play (much) his freshman year and then comes on to play the way he has his sophomore year,” said Boeheim.
The Syracuse coach thought about that statement for a second and corrected himself. “Actually, Sherman Douglas did it,” said Boeheim. “Sherman didn’t play as a freshman and then became All-(Big East) his second year. That’s pretty good. Mike is heading in the same direction.
“He still has plenty of room for improvement,” Boeheim said of Carter-Williams. “He really does. Wait until he learns how to shoot better (from outside). Defenders will have to guard him closer and he’ll go right by them. He can go by anybody.”
Syracuse sophomore guard Trevor Cooney has seen Carter-Williams’ overall game develop every day since the two of them arrived on campus over a year ago. He says he’s not surprised that Carter-Williams is leading the country in assists.
“Not at all,” said Cooney. “Mike’s feel for the game is unbelievable. He’s great at knowing the next play and where the ball is supposed to be. When he has shot-makers on the floor with him, it makes his job a little easier. But it also makes our job easier knowing we have a guy who can really find us.”