As floor general of the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team, sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams is happy to have senior forward James Southerland available on the court. "It's great to have James [Southerland] back," said Carter-Williams. "He's a senior on the team. He's a leader. And just having his presence as a player is great."
Moving forward to more trips, Southerland will now be there for Carter-Williams to utilize, something the sophomore guard believes will help the team as a whole. "It's just like we're flowing again," Carter-Williams stated. "Our offense isn't stagnant. We move. And he gets any open look and it's going up, we know it's a good shot."
In his first time on the floor since a six-game hiatus, Southerland made four of his 10 attempts, going from 0-for-4 in the first half against St. John's at home to 4-for-6 in the second half, finishing with 13 points.
When asked if the return of Southerland helps him going forward, Carter-Wiliiams replied, "Oh, definitely. It's another threat on the perimeter. It's gonna help me. It's gonna make my game a lot easier. And, I'm just trying to make his game a lot easier and my teammates' [games]."
Though Carter-Williams has continued to lead the Big East Conference and the nation in assists per game, he admitted that without Southerland, he was potentially missing three of four assists in any given game.
He had four and two in the losses to Villanova and Pittsburgh, respectively.
But, he has since improved, recording eight helpers against Notre Dame, following the Pittsburgh defeat, and another eight on the day Southerland was activated, versus St. John's.
"I think I'm performing great," Carter-Williams remarked. "My teammates is putting me in good position. They're getting to their spots...they're helping me out a lot."
As far as adding more depth to the bench and to the Orange as a whole with Southerland back, Carter-Williams said, "It's great. We needed him in a few of the games that we didn't have him in. We're just gonna go forward from here."