"I know a lot of people think I'm crazy to be here, but I like it," Anthony says. "I'm just going out, playing hard every game, enjoying college for this one year. After that it's another decision."
The one-and-done concept is worth evaluating. Calipari had guard DaJuan Wagner for one season at Memphis. (At week's end Wagner was averaging 20.3 points as a Cleveland Cavaliers rookie.) "If you have a guy who's going to stay one year and he's disruptive, it's not worth it," says Calipari. "DaJuan wasn't like that. We've got players who benefited from playing with him."
At Syracuse, coach Jim Boeheim secured early commitments this year from three good players (6'4" guard Louis McCroskey, 6'7" forward Demetris Nichols and 6'9" forward Terrence Roberts), in large part because they wanted to play with Anthony on a team that could contend for a national title next year. That won't happen if Anthony leaves, but his presence will still have been beneficial. "If Carmelo stays one year, that's better than no years," says Boeheim. "For everybody involved."
Last Saturday, Anthony had 24 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a 94-58 win over Division I fledgling Binghamton. After an opening slam, he dished out assists on his next three touches, as if toying with the Bearcats. There is little doubt the level of his play will rise with the quality of the opponent. "He gets bored now," says Boeheim.
As Anthony left the Carrier Dome, he was stopped by a small cluster of fans seeking autographs. In the night air there were traces of snow mixed with frozen rain. Such conditions aren't so bad after a win. "I'm straight with the weather," he had said as he was preparing to leave the building. He signed his name a dozen times, pulled a hood over his baseball cap, jumped into a friend's car at the curb and rolled into the darkness. Just another freshman, keeping the inevitable at bay a little longer.