The last thing that Michael Carter-Williams was worried about at the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago last week was getting validation from ESPN.
The mere fact that he's ranked the 18th best high school basketball player in the nation and was among 24 players chosen for the McDonald's game spoke volumes about his ability and his three-year body of work at St. Andrew's School in Barrington, R.I., where he scored 2,260 points.
Still, after he was limited to two points in the McDonald's game, it was reassuring when the Hamilton resident received text messages from Syracuse University assistant coaches Mike Hopkins and Gerry McNamara after the McDonald's East All-Stars downed the West, 111-96, at the United Center.
"They just said 'Congratulations,' and 'Great job,'" said Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-5 guard who will likely enroll in classes at Syracuse in July before embarking on the next phase of his career.
The 19-year-old is eager to put on a Syracuse uniform and make his mark, preferably as a freshman. Everything he's doing from here on out is geared towards that goal.
The McDonald's All-American Game was a national showcase of spectacular players making spectacular plays for the ESPN audience. Carter-Williams, who won the skills competition earlier in the week, belonged with that group, but he took fewer shots (1-for-4 for two points) than just about anybody in his 14-minute stint.
No, he wasn't disappointed with the way it played out. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Syracuse doesn't think any less of him now than it did a week ago because he managed just one basket in an all-star setting.
One for the memory bank
"It was definitely the best experience I've ever had," said Carter-Williams, who played his freshman year at Hamilton-Wenham Regional before transferring to St. Andrew's. "Playing with the best players in the country, developing a relationship with those guys and seeing that crowd (a McDonald's game record of 19,000-plus) was unbelievable.