PROVIDENCE – Scratch off the biggest need on Ed Cooley’s off-season “to-do” list.
Shoring up the point-guard spot for next season as well as future ones has been a top priority for Cooley and the Providence Friars since the moment the 2013-14 campaign came to an end. With the verbal commitment expressed by Compton (Calif.) High School senior Kyron Cartwright, PC now has a second floor general to pair with Kris Dunn, who has missed significant time in each of his first two collegiate seasons.
Cartwright cemented his pledge to the Friars not long after Connecticut captured the national championship on Monday night. He posted the following on Twitter: “It’s official. Committed to Providence College. Catch me in Black and Grey next yr.”
Reached Tuesday, Cartwright said he officially made up his mind a few days prior to publicly stating his final choice. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound lefty was originally scheduled to attend Loyola Marymount University next year, but those best-laid plans changed after head coach and one-time Bryant University mentor Max Good was relieved of his duties.
“The (PC) coaches and the staff, they promote a family environment; I felt like I could play and trust the team,” Cartwright expressed. “Now I have no distractions or things on my mind constantly. I don’t have much more to do except to graduate.”
The ability for Cartwright to come in and potentially see significant playing time as a freshman and at a position where the options are few and far between as Dunn represented PC’s top selling points. A four-year varsity player for Compton, Cartwright helped guide the Tarbabes to a 25-8 record this past season, one that culminated with a loss in the finals of the CIF State Division II Southern Regional bracket.
“Not everybody can come in and start, but I wanted to be able to play right away and contribute to the team,” noted Cartwright. “(PC) gave me an opportunity to do that.”
The Friars were on to Cartwright during his first spin around the recruiting carousal. The connection between the West Coast native and the Friars is rooted in PC associate head coach Andre LaFleur. A Los Angeles native, LaFleur played AAU ball with Tony Thomas, the head boys’ basketball coach at Compton High.
Once Cartwright was granted his release from LMU, Thomas reached out to LaFleur. When the interest was reciprocated on the Friars’ end, plans were hatched for Cartwright to fly east and visit PC’s campus, which happened the last weekend of March.
“I grew up with Andre and played basketball with him, so I’m comfortable with the decision. It’s a chance for Kyron to grow,” stated Thomas.
“It was kind of quick, maybe a week or two,” said Cartwright when asked how long the period of time was between deciding LMU was not the best for him and hearing from Providence.
Thomas began getting bombarded upon word getting out that Cartwright was once again on the open market. “More and more attention was coming, but he didn’t want to go through that process again,” noted the Compton mentor. “He really liked Providence.”
Just what kind of player is Cooley getting? For starters, Cartwright captained the Tarbabes as a senior. Rivals.com rates the Californian as a three-star recruit on a five-star scale.
“I’m very athletic and feel that I make the right play first. I make the game easier for others,” said Cartwright.
Thomas took a step further by saying, “He’s more of a distributor who’s very explosive. Is he going to dunk on you? No, but he’s very athletic and pushes the ball. He’s a pass-first point guard, but he can score.”
Cartwright’s coach downplayed the notion of a born-and-bred West Coast kid struggling upon transitioning to the hustle and bustle of the opposite coast. Case in point, Long Beach, Calif. native Ryan Anderson announced Monday that he was transferring from Boston College with one year of eligibility remaining.
“I really don’t think it really does matter even though there’s not a very good rate of success of going from west coast to east coast, but Kyron will adjust,” said Thomas. “His brother (Bryce) graduated from Iowa and that’s a long ways away.”
Cartwright becomes the fourth member of PC’s Class of 2014, joining Paschal Chukwu, Ben Bentil and Jalen Lindsay. As of this moment, the Friars have 11 players under scholarship for next season.
The first day that Cartwright can sign his national letter of intent is Wednesday, April 16.
“I’m looking forward to that day and can’t wait,” Cartwright said.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03