Carter-Williams goes 11th to Sixers

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Carter-Williams goes 11th to Sixers

By Matthew Fairburn

Back in the spring of 2008, the Boston Amateur Basketball Club was dominating in a first-round game of an AAU district tournament against a team thrown together by Zach Zagrowski, the stepfather of Michael Carter-Williams.

The scoreboard displayed a lopsided score in BABC’s favor, but CarterWilliams, who had recently completed his freshman season at Hamilton-Wenham High School, didn’t stop attacking. He knew he had a chance to prove himself against an elite program.

“I knew it would be a great opportunity, and I just tried to make the best out of it,” Carter-Williams said.

Carter-Williams did make the best of it. A bit undersized at the time, standing just 5-feet-9-inches tall, he showed off his range, making 3-pointer after 3-pointer. Despite BABC still playing him tight, he continued to make contested shots and drive the lane, impressing Papile and his opponents.

“Nobody really knew who he was, then he put like 35 on us,” recalled Alex Oriakhi, who played for BABC before continuing his career at Connecticut and  Missouri. “And I was like, ‘Wow, that kid can play.’ I always knew he had the ability to do it.”

Just a few months later, Carter-Williams was playing for BABC and was enrolled at St. Andrew’s School in Rhode Island. He had taken the next step in his basketball career.

“That’s when I really started to get noticed,” Carter-Williams recalled.During his time with BABC under Papile, Carter-Williams grew, most notably in height. He sprouted more than six inches during high school and was listed at 6-feet-6-inches tall as a sophomore at Syracuse.

But he also grew as a player. Prior to joining BABC, Carter-Williams played off the ball a lot, given his ability to score and create chances. When Carter-Williams started playing for BABC, Papile wanted to get the ball in his hands.


Zagrowski, Carter-Williams’ stepfather and coach, was hesitant.

“I remember telling Zach, ‘I want to get him on the ball and make a point guard out of him,’” Papile recalls. “He says ‘I don’t know, Mike can score.’ I said ‘I can see all that, but combine his scoring ability with his ability to see the floor, you
could have a pro some day.’”

Carter-Williams has now made Papile’s vision a reality. After two seasons at Syracuse, the 6-foot-6-inch point guard he declared for the 2013 NBA Draft and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 11 pick in the first round on Thursday night.

He will now get to play with his former AAU teammate, Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 pick, whom the Sixers traded for.

Michigan’s Trey Burke may have been the first point guard taken in this year’s draft, but Carter-Williams, a Hamilton, Mass., native, will still hold a special place in BABC lore.

“He’s one of my favorites,” Papile said.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”