After being courted on the national stage by a number of top-level NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams, Flintridge Prep point guard Robert Cartwright verbally committed to Stanford University over the phone Wednesday evening.
Cartwright’s commitment to the Cardinal comes after a strong junior season and busy summer. He became the undisputed leader of the Rebels in 2012-13 and flourished in the role after helping them win a CIF Southern Section Division V-AA crown as a freshman.
“Stanford is Stanford, it’s an incredible academic school, it’s a place I felt very comfortable with the coaches,” said Cartwright, who took an unofficial trip to the school in the spring. “I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, both on and off the court, but it’s a challenge I think I’m up for, one I’m training for now and one I’m just excited to embark on. I think I can do great things there, hopefully as an athlete and off the court. I just felt like it was a great fit.”
The do-everything guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals a game en route to leading his team to a Prep League title, the division V-AA semifinals and a CIF State Division V appearance last season.
In the process, the 6-foot-2 18-year old earned the Prep League Most Valuable Player award, along with first-team nods in All-Area and All-CIF voting. It was this summer that Cartwright, who plays AAU ball with the LA Rockfish, saw his stock rise considerably.
“Sometimes there were days where I had basically 10-12 calls consecutively and those could take a long time,” Cartwright said. “It was tough, especially during the school year. … It was a little overwhelming at times, but I enjoyed the process and I was fine doing it because I felt very lucky and I was very happy to have so many great schools in my recruitment.”
The incoming senior spent most of the summer in the gym, playing for the LA Rockfish or in Flintridge Prep summer league games. He also attended Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul’s CP3 Elite Guard Camp.
Cartwright estimated he received “at least 27” offers from across the nation, even after he told schools that attempted to get into the recruiting process in July that he was already far along with other teams. There were about 12 to 15 schools that were close, specifically Harvard and San Diego, but Stanford was just the right fit at the end of the day.
A four-star prospect ranked 78th overall in the class of 2014 by Rivals.com, Cartwright was pursued for many reasons. A good shooter, finisher at the rim with solid ball-handling skills, he was perhaps most coveted for his on-the-ball defense.
“After having another good summer, my name became more of a national name and it helped a lot,” said Cartwright, adding one major plus to Stanford was that his family could come watch many of his games. “I am very happy with everything and I feel very lucky.”
His top-level recruitment continues a recent trend set by Flintridge Prep basketball. Starting it all was center Kenyatta Smith, who committed to Harvard after leading the Rebels to their 2011 CIF title.
Before taking off for Northern California, Cartwright hopes to leave Prep, which graduated three of its five starters and could be bumped up to Division IV-AA, on a high note.
“For me, it’s just about making the best of this year,” Cartwright said. “I think we have the capability of being a solid team that can at least compete with most teams. I’m not going to say we’re going to just go out and win CIF, which would be what I would hope and that’s what I want everyone to believe that we can do, but honestly it’s about going out there, competing and winning some games we probably shouldn’t.”
While evidence may suggest Cartwright has reached a level of prominence in his career, he’s determined to never play that way.
“I am just going to continue to work hard because it’s important to have a chip on my shoulder always,” he said, “and that’s the way I am going to continue to play and work in the offseason in preparation for next year.”