One of One with Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams is the only New England native to be named to this year’s McDonald’s All-American game. The St. Andrew’s star and his coach sat down with the New England Recruiting Report to discuss his career and his most recent honor.
NERR: Michael first of all, tell us how it felt when you found out you were selected to be a McDonald’s All-American?
MCW: I felt great. It was the biggest accomplishment for me. I was a little bit shocked and just real happy. Me, my family, my coaches at St. Andrew’s we are all excited.
NERR: So you weren’t expecting to be picked?
MCW: I was working towards it and knew I had a chance but just to work for something for so long and then achieve my goal was a great feeling. I just couldn’t believe it.
NERR: Have you been picked for any other games?
MCW: Yeah I was picked for the Jordan Brand Classic.
NERR: Looking back on your career at this point. What would you say was your biggest accomplishment or something that you are most proud of?
MCW: My biggest highlight was when we beat DeMatha, just because it was such a good team effort. A lot of people when they mention St. Andrew’s they say all they have is Michael carter Williams, and we showed we have a lot more than that. It was a great team win and a great win for Coach Hart and Coach O’Shea.
NERR: How about some of your best individual moments? What stands out?
MCW: Well in AAU I had 44 in the second game at the Peach Jam and I think that’s what really got me noticed for the McDonald’s game. It was obviously with BABC and it was just a good game where I was feeling it?
NERR: Looking back on your career, your stock took a definite jump about a year ago where you really started to distinguish yourselves from a lot of your peers. Can you talk about that a little bit?
MCW: Definitely. I know I was in the mix with a lot of people last year and I just felt like I needed to work harder and play big in the big games and just try to prove myself.
NERR: Was there a single break-out game for you during that process?
MCW: Last year when we played Westwind and then MCI. Those were back to back games at the URI Tournament and I had 30 in both games and I think that was when I really established myself.
NERR: Now you had made an early commitment to Syracuse before this point. Did you ever waver on that after your stock really jumped to that next level.
MCW: No, I always felt good about going to Syracuse. It’s the perfect fit for me and I just can’t wait to get up there.
NERR: As you look back on your career and all the work it took to get to this point, who are some of the most influential people in your development?
MCW: With me it’s just my whole family, my mom, my dad, my step-mother, my step-father are all important. They pushed me from the physical aspect and also staying level mentally and pushing myself. Coach Hart and Coach O’Shea too, they taught me how to stay positive and be a better player on the court. And also Leo [Papile]. He helped me out a lot.
NERR: Are there any goals left or anything left to prove before you head to Syracuse?
MCW: Yeah I just want to win that championship. That’s probably my biggest goal right now.
NERR: Thanks Michael and congratulations.
MCW: Thank you.
One on One with St. Andrew's head coach Mike Hart
NERR: Coach, obviously this is a huge honor not just for Michael but also for your program.
MH: it’s a huge honor for our program and when I came here 17 years ago it was a goal I had set up but it’s also a huge accomplishment for Rhode Island because we were one of five states to never have a kid make the game. Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Hawaii are the other four.
NERR: So if he’s the first St. Andrew’s player to make the game does that mean he’s the best ever to wear the uniform?
MH: I hate to compare kids but he’s probably our best all around player. He has very few weaknesses.
NERR: We asked Michael about the time last year when he began to distinguish himself from many of his peers. Looking back on that time, what do you think was the biggest change in his game?
MH: I think the new skill in basketball that kids have to acquire is playing hard and if I thought back ten years ago I wouldn’t have considered that a skill but now it is. That was the skill that I thought Michael needed to improve and it has. He plays hard all the time now. He doesn’t take any plays off. That’s why he’s such a great rebounder and passer, why he takes charges, because he made the commitment to play hard every possession. He has all the basketball skills. That’s not even a question.
NERR: Is there part of his game that’s underrated?
MH: Rebounding. I’ve said it before, I think he’s the best rebounding guard in the country and that’s on both ends both offensively and defensively. I really think that’s going to make him very valuable at Syracuse because now he can play multiple positions.
NERR: You were very active campaigning for Michael to be selected to this game. Can you talk about that a little bit?
MH: I think like anything else politics can sometimes be involved and I’ve been around long enough and really felt strongly that he deserved the McDonald’s game honor. We’ve been close before with Tony [Robertson] and Demetrius [Nichols] in the final 30 and John [Kale]and Rakim [Sanders] in the top 50. Michael had a big year last year, a tremendous summer, and has had a huge year this year. He’s scored 319 points in the last ten games including his 2000th point and I’ve got to admit he’s only taken a few bad shots. He’s done a great job embracing his leadership position on our team this year. He has the ability to make his teammates better and that’s led to our success.