- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Carmelo Anthony could have been LeBron James.
More to the point, the Syracuse freshman could have gotten in the same sort of trouble last year as James, the high school phenom, has in recent weeks. But Anthony, who was among the nation's top high school seniors last year, didn't heed the call of NBA riches or the hype that went with it.
"[Anthony] never bought into that," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after the Orangemen's practice yesterday. "He wanted to go to college from the first day we talked to him because we talked to him about that, 'What do you think?' and all that hype stuff. From day one, he was adamant that he was going to go to college and said, 'I'm looking forward to that.'"
The Baltimore native has lived up to expectations, leading the nation's freshmen with 20.6 points a game and averaging 9.5 rebounds. The surprising record of No.24 Syracuse (14-3, 5-2 Big East) is a direct reflection of that. Tonight at the Carrier Dome, Georgetown (10-7, 2-5) will get a firsthand look at Anthony and his skill in a college uniform, something no one expects ever to see James in.
It's easy to compare James and Anthony. Last year, Anthony, who played at Virginia's Oak Hill Academy, was possibly the best high school player who did not enter the NBA Draft. Both are 6-foot-8 and have similar games, although Anthony is a better outside shooter. But, as Anthony says, he "didn't get anything" near the attention James has received.
James, the hyped senior from Akron, Ohio, has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, and ESPN has aired some of James' high school games, a first for the network. Instead of going to college, he probably will be the top pick in June's NBA Draft.
Not that he could change his mind about college. On Friday, James was ruled ineligible for the rest of the season for accepting free merchandise two throwback jerseys reportedly worth $845. He also drives a $50,000 Hummer H2 tricked out with three televisions that James' mother, using a bank loan, bought for his 18th birthday.
"The media is giving him too much attention, and they are just going to get him in trouble," a prophetic Anthony said of James on Friday before the ruling came down.
Last year, James' St. Vincent-St. Mary's team played Oak Hill. Anthony scored 34 points and had 12 rebounds, while James netted 35 points.
"I didn't cover him because he was playing the point," Anthony said. "We're two different people. That's [NBA] for him, not me. His mindset is that he is ready to go to the NBA. The NBA is everybody's dream."
How long before Anthony, who can post up, slash to the basket and hit a pull-up jumper from outside, joins him there remains to be seen. Boston College guard Ryan Sidney said Anthony told him during the Eagles' 82-74 loss to the Orangemen on Jan.11 that he was going to turn professional after the season ends.
"At the end of the year, he'll have to do what he thinks is best," Boeheim said. "But he's giving it a great year, he's done well in school, he's fit in well and been a great part of the team. He's never once thought about the NBA or talked about it. He's just playing basketball."
Boeheim said Anthony's scoring will start dropping now that conference play is in full swing. Teams have started double-teaming him more and are starting to figure him out after watching hours of game film. However, that opens up some of Anthony's teammates in Boeheim's offense.
"He's basically a man at the age of 18," Syracuse senior guard Kueth Duany said. "He's got a long way to go still, but the potential and where he is at right now is unbelievable."
Anthony said the reason for his success is that he is playing within himself.
"The offense is running through me, and teams are starting to double me," Anthony said. "I'm just not doing anything dumb like being overanxious. I was able to come in here and play as a freshman, and now I'm used to it."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide