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Michael Carter-Williams’ family prepared him for this moment

Nov 6, 2013, 3:53 PM EDT

Michael Carter-Williams AP

He’s the guy everybody around the NBA wants to talk about.

When Michael Carter-Williams was selected No. 11 by the Philadelphia 76ers this rapid success wasn’t expected. It was thought he could develop into the point guard of the future there in a few years (they had just traded away Jrue Holiday). He was tall, had handles and a good court sense, but there were real questions about his shooting and efficiency.

Carter-Williams was ready for it and it was because of his family — his mother, Mandy, played at Mary Washington College; his father, Earl, played at Salem State; and his step father Zach (Mandy remarried) was a college player and high school coach.

How all that shaped Carter-Williams is detailed in a fantastic profile at by Gordie Jones.

Zach also became Michael’s “basketball guy,” according to Mandy, working him out ceaselessly on the family’s backyard court. It’s not like she shrank into the background, though. More than once she rained instructions down on her son from a second-floor window. More than once she badgered him from a courtside lawn chair.

“It’s not something you usually see with a mother and son,” she said, “and I guess that’s where you could say the relationship is a little bit different, because I’m screaming, ‘Follow through!’ … ‘Bend your knees!’ … ‘Jump!’ … ‘Nothing lazy!’

He pushed back against that to a degree — as any teenager would — but out the other end came a very polished player and one who is close to his family.

Then he went to play at Syracuse, but there were a lot of lessons to learn there, too, about being humble and focused.

Michael committed to Syracuse as a high school sophomore, but scarcely played his first year on campus, trapped behind the perimeter triumvirate of Scoop Jardine, Dion Waiters and Howard Triche. Carter-Williams called that season “really hard.” Mandy went so far as to say it was “probably the toughest year for Michael in his life.”

“Michael wanted to transfer,” she added, “and we talked him out of it.”

Actually, that’s not entirely true, she then admitted. It was more a case of she and Zach listening to their son’s complaints and giving their blessing to a transfer, and Michael doing an abrupt about-face. No way, he told them, was he going to cut and run.

Carter-Williams was a star at Syracuse his last season but lessons about playing through mistakes and learning had been engrained him — lessons that are paying off big under Brett Brown in Philadelphia.

There are a lot of hard lessons still to learn as a pro, but Carter-Williams put himself in a position. He is being talked about as a Rookie of the Year, and while it is insanely early for that he fits the profile that can win it — a guy with the ball in his hands on a bad tea asked to do some scoring and make plays (think of Damian Lillard last year). Victor Oladipo and others will be in the mix, but Carter-Williams has injected himself into that conversation.

And he seems like he has the mentality, the personality to handle it and everything else that comes his way.

  1. asimonetti88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I didn’t know much about him coming into the draft other than he was a big point guard with good handles but kid has talent and seems to have his head on straight. Hopefully he can continue to develop and improve and turn into the star he’s shown himself capable of being.

  2. money2long - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    could the mavericks have gotten him ?

    • anhdazman - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Nope they were behind 11 and didn’t seem interested in moving up.

  3. stephenlin - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    “More than once she rained instructions down on her son from a second-floor window. More than once she badgered him from a courtside lawn chair.” Hahah moms…

  4. shidoda - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I’m pretty sure you meant Brandon Triche, not Howard. Howard is a few years older. Anyways I love MCW and hope he continues to develop his game. Love to see him become a superstar. The kid had his family house burn down last year and he played some of his best basketball at Syracuse after that.

  5. captainwisdom8888 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    “Michael wanted to transfer, and then we talked him out of it…..actually…that’s not entirely true she then admitted.” about getting your story straight, lady.

  6. kb2408 - Nov 6, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Watching this dude play in the NCAA tournament I never thought he’d play like this in the NBA. It’s only a few games but so far this kid looks like the real deal. To have the size he has as a true point guard should be a little scary for the rest of the league. If he gets a consistent jumper…. it’s a wrap!

  7. realfootballfan - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    This kid is balling.

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