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Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams declares for NBA draft

Michael Carter-Williams has declared for the draft. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Michael Carter-Williams will be among the top prospects in the June draft. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Syracuse sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams declared for the NBA draft on Wednesday.

"Michael has informed me of his intention to enter the NBA draft," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said in a prepared statement. "He's coming off a tremendous season and we appreciate all he's done for Syracuse basketball. We wish Michael the best of luck as he pursues a pro career."

SI.com's Chris Mannix had Carter-Williams ranked 11th on his most recent Big Board, in mid-March, before the start of the NCAA tournament.

Carter-Williams' assist numbers have dipped recently -- he hasn't had more than six in his last five games and has had just one double-digit dime night since early January -- but his size and natural playmaking instincts draw comparisons to a healthy Shaun Livingston, convincing GMs that he can be an NBA starter. "You can polish his jump shot and work on his handle," an Eastern Conference assistant GM said. "But the way he sees the floor and the way he can create in transition are rare.

Carter-Williams, 21, averaged 11.9 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.9 rebounds for the Orange, who lost to Michigan in the Final Four. Carter-Williams shot 39.3 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from three-point range, earning second-team All-Big East honors.

A native of Massachusetts who played high school basketball in Rhode Island, Carter-Williams is listed at 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds. The Sporting News reported that his family's Massachusetts home burned to the ground while he was competing in the NCAA tournament and that Carter-Williams did his best to play through the emotions during the fire's aftermath.

“After the first couple of days, I really didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to say too much about it,” Carter-Williams said Friday, six days after the fire that took place while he played against California in San Jose with his mother and sister in the stands. “But I just got comfortable with it. The situation is what it is. Everyone knows about it. I just don’t want it to be mistaken – I got asked a couple of questions about whether that was the reason why you played well (against Indiana). I don’t think it was the reason why. It happened, I just wanted to go out there and play my best for my team and my teammates."
Carter-Williams ranks No. 12 on DraftExpress.com's top 100 and No. 9 on Chad Ford's top 100 at ESPN Insider.

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