By Matt Jenkins
---- — Syracuse University sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams of Hamilton was named co-winner of the Big East Most Improved Player Award, along with Providence College’s Kadeem Batts. The award was decided by a league-wide vote by head coaches, who could not vote for their own player.
Carter-Williams also received other honors, being named All-Big East Second Team and being announced as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation’s best point guard.
The 6-foot-5 Carter-Williams played just over 10 minutes per game as a freshman, averaging less than three points per game. This winter, Carter-Williams has increased his production to 12.5 points per game and Big East-leading averages of 7.5 assists and 2.9 steals.
Remaining in the pool of candidates for the Cousy Award is also a major achievement for Carter-Williams. That list began with 80 players before being whittled down to 20, 10 and now five candidates.
Carter-Williams, who currently ranks fourth nationally in both assists and steals, is among good company on the final list. Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Saint Mary’s College’s Matthew Dellavedova, University of Miami’s Shane Larkin and Michigan’s Trey Burke are also finalists.
Syracuse (23-8) and Carter-Williams will be the fifth seed in the upcoming Big East Conference Tournament, which begins for the Orange tomorrow against the winner of Seton Hall-South Florida game at Madison Sqaure Garden.