Category archive: Syracuse Orange
WESTBURY, N.Y. -- Michigan's Trey Burke was the consensus national player of the year in college basketball and is widely (though not universally) regarded by scouts as the best point guard prospect in the 2013 NBA draft.
On Friday, I took the train up to Westbury to get a closer look at his two main competitors for the title of best point guard in the draft: Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum. I also observed Bucknell big man Mike Muscala.
All three are working out in Westbury with trainer Jay Hernandez in preparation for team workouts in June.
Some NBA teams rank Carter-Williams or McCollum as the No. 1 point guard in the class. Muscala is on the first-round bubble. Here's a look at what I saw on Friday.
For much of November, December and January, Carter-Williams was the No. 1-ranked point guard on our Big Board. After a quiet freshman season at Syracuse, he stormed onto the scene as a sophomore, surprising many with his elite court vision and point guard skills for a player his size.
Carter-Williams wowed early in the season with a sixth sense for seeing plays develop on both ends of the court. By early January he was averaging 10 assists and nearly three steals per game as Syracuse got off to a 14-1 start.
Once he was mired in Big East play, however, his assist totals started to fall, his turnovers rose and his shooting percentage plummeted. After securing assist totals of 10 or more in nine of his first 15 games, he had 10-plus assists only twice after Jan. 2 -- and both games were against the weakest competition in the Big East.
By mid-March, some scouts began to suggest that Carter-Williams had damaged his draft stock to the point that he had to return to school. However, a solid performance in the NCAA tournament, capped by a 24-point outing against Indiana (before a miserable 2-point elimination game against Michigan) raised the question -- is Carter-Williams still the best NBA point guard prospect?
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