First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The Flintridge Prep varsity boys’ basketball team has high hopes for the upcoming 2022-23 season, boasting a plethora of talent and a brand-new head coach.
Robert Cartwright will be tackling his first official high school managerial position as head coach. He will look to help guide the Wolves back to the CIF-SS postseason for at least the 18th consecutive time since MaxPreps began tracking results in 2004.
“I have high hopes for this group and I know that they’re very committed and working as hard as they can to try to have the best season possible and leave their own legacy here,” Cartwright said. “We can compete with every team we play, especially in [Prep League]. There are always challenging teams and you never know what to expect from a team like Providence [High of Burbank] but right now, they’re the team to beat because they’ve done it now multiple years in a row.”
This isn’t Cartwright’s first rodeo at Flintridge Prep. He was a four-year varsity standout from 2011-14 and helped lead the Wolves to their most recent CIF-SS Division 5AA title as a freshman. After graduating from high school, Cartwright committed to playing Division I college basketball at Stanford University and later helped lead the University of California Irvine to a Big West Tournament title and its first NCAA Tournament victory. He continued playing professionally, most notably in Kosovo and Bosnia, before injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic derailed his career.
Cartwright has been extremely pleased with his team’s summer performance, as well as their overall talent and athletic ability. The senior-heavy squad has high hopes for itself to not only compete for a league title but also make a deep playoff run. Cartwright explained the versatility of the team makes it dangerous and challenging for opponents to prepare against.
“I feel like we could have a different leading scorer and I think that’s what’s so special and interesting about this team,” Cartwright said. “There are obviously some guys that have done some really good things since they’ve been here, but I couldn’t tell you one or two specific guys that are above the rest.”
Cartwright projects his starting rotation to include Caleb Bowne, Geoffrey Stetson, Andrew Jordan, William Bigby and Henry Morrison but noted that as the season progresses that could very well change.
“There are other guys that could easily fill that role — guys that, at least for right now, look like they might come off the bench and could easily be some of our best players,” Cartwright said. “I don’t really care about who’s starting or not. I’ve done both at points in my career and had success doing both. I don’t want our players to worry about that; it really matters who’s in at the end of the game.”
Having previously experienced the fabled Pasadena Poly versus Flintridge Prep crosstown rivalry as a player, Cartwright is excited to experience it from a different vantage point. He said the rivalry matchup is always a great experience and wants to make sure that his players control their emotional state and play the game like they can.
“No matter how good or bad Poly or Prep is during a given year, you know each team is going to come ready to win and give everything that they have,” Cartwright said. “We expect to get their best effort and they should expect to get our best effort.”
The first of two games against Poly won’t take place until January 2023.
“I think this is a team people want to come watch because they play really hard,” Cartwright said of his squad. “I think it’s a group that people will resonate with and acknowledge. I know the boys are excited and I guarantee that we will be a team that will fight and compete, and that’s all that matters sometimes.”