football

Cartwrights play keeps his star on the rise

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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Robert Cartwright's Los Angeles Rockfish club team may
have taken a somewhat casual approach to Thursday's Battle at the Beach exhibition event, but he
certainly did not.
Cartwright, a 6-foot-2 point guard at Flintridge Preparatory Academy in La Canada, Calif.,
doesn't know how to do anything other than play like his hair is on fire. So when his AAU
coaches decided to hold him out of the first half of the first of two games on the day, it had
no visible impact on his subsequent approach.
The large number of college programs that showed up to evaluate Cartwright, arguably the West's
fastest-rising player in its deepest position group, may have been irked, but nonetheless he had to
be impressed with how he looked in limited minutes.
As he always does, Cartwright guarded on every possession like it was the last play of a hugely
meaningful game, and he ran his team nearly flawlessly, consistently making the right play and
showing yet again that he's more athletic than he's given credit for.
Schools are increasingly taking note, with California, Colorado, Harvard,
Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah and USC in the
gym to watch Thursday, but for many it may be too late.
"If anything, I'm going to take my visits right after the July period," Cartwright said between
games. "I don't expect to take a ton of time. I expect to commit in August or early in the next
month. I don't want to take a lot of time or waste schools' time."
Cartwright wouldn't say it directly, but he suggested the high academic schools that have
extended offers, including Harvard and Stanford, are in great shape to be among his finalists. He made it clear that getting a first-rate education is his top priority.
Though he is unranked, Cartwright has 20-plus scholarship offers with a number of others on
the verge, and yet he is seemingly unconcerned with whether he attracts some of the big ones yet to
be determined.
"I guess you could say the two or three schools that are (recruiting) the hardest (without
offering) are USC, Gonzaga and UCLA," Cartwright said. "I don't know if they are ever
going to offer. If they do, great, and if not, no big deal."
Particularly interesting is Cartwright's comments on UCLA, a school his parents attended
and one he admitted to being a fan of growing up.
"Honestly, if it was between UCLA and USC) it would probably be USC because they've been
in it much longer and coach (Jason) Hart has done a great job recruiting me. If it came down
to those two at the end, it would probably be USC. But I have great opportunities otherwise.
"I'm never going to say I was under-recruited. Sometimes I felt like I was overlooked, and that's
OK. Maybe it was attributed to play; maybe it was attributed to things beyond my control. I feel
very happy with the schools I have in my recruitment. I feel lucky and very happy with any of
the schools I'm looking at now."
Dastrup to trim list soon
Though he's focused on helping Cal Supreme have as impacting a July as possible, Mesa (Ariz.)
Mountain View 6-foot-8 post Payton Dastrup hasn't put recruiting completely on the
back burner this month.
"I still think about it quite a bit," Dastrup said. "You have all these coaches at these events.
I'm going to be making my top five or top seven in about two weeks. I have 22 offers and am going to
narrow it down the week after Vegas."
Dastrup, No. 77 nationally in the 2014 class, won't reveal whether any teams are locks to make
the list, but BYU -- Dastrup is planning a two year LDS Church Mission after high school
-- and Kansas figure to be there. He particularly is impressed with the Jayhawks from a
prestige standpoint.
"I have an offer from Kansas, and it just sticks out because of the quality of coaching with
coach (Bill) Self and also the players who have come through," he said. "So that really sticks
out."
Dastrup said he thinks he's played well this month. He helped Cal Surpreme put its best foot
forward on a big stage.
"We went in as the lowest seed and ended up beating the No. 1 overall team by 17 points," he
said. "We knew we were the underdog, but we jumped on them and finished 4-2 in Peach Jam."
Boatwright planning unofficials
Following the conclusion of the July evaluation period, the No. 31 prospect in 2015, Bennie Boatwright, a 6-foot-8 small forward at Bishop Alemany in Mission Hills, Calif., said he
will take a handful of Pac-12 visits. The first stops will be Arizona and Arizona State in the first week of August.
"(Arizona forward) Brandon Ashley is my cousin, so I want to go there, and also I like
the way that Arizona State is recruiting me, so I want to go there too. I think I'll go to
both," Boatwright said. "I'll also probably go to USC, UCLA and maybe Cal."
A high-level perimeter shooter with length, Boatwright is trying to broaden his
offensive skill set.
"Mostly I'm working on my ball handling and just being patient," he said. "I need to improve my
defense more, but I think that will come as I get stronger and better."
Bluiett to trim list to five
Four-star forward Trevon Bluiett is less than two weeks from cutting his list
to five, but don't expect him to reveal any of his top schools before that date.
He will, though, give some hints.
Butler, for example, isn't going anywhere on his list for now, despite Brad Stevens'
departure to coach the Boston Celtics.
"I had a better relationship with (Brandon) Miller than I had with Stevens," said Bluiett, who's
running with Indiana Elite this weekend. "I've known Miller since like eighth grade, when he
recruited me at Ohio State and then at Illinois. So that's a plus for Butler."
Bluiett will also drop a hint about UCLA, a program that has his former Indianapolis (Ind.)
Park Tudor head coach Ed Schilling on staff.
"It's sunny all the time, and who wouldn't want to live that college life?" Bluiett said of Los
Angeles. "It's a big up for UCLA, but I'm just enjoying it."
The local schools, like Indiana and Michigan, probably aren't going anywhere
either.
But Bluiett won't confirm or deny any of that.
For now, the 6-foot-5, 185-pound scoring wing says he's wide open to the process.
"We're still giving every school a chance," said Bluiett, who will make his college decision
prior to the early signing period in November. "After July, we'll cut it down to five schools.
So I have to start thinking about that now since it's right around the corner."
Leaf blowing up
Before his AAU tournament in Indianapolis last weekend, T.J. Leaf would do one or two
interviews here and there, and he'd talk to a few coaches every once in a while.
After his performance during the first live evaluation period out, that changed.
There was a line for interviews for Leaf after his only game Thursday at Battle at the Beach,
and coaches have been coming for him all week as well.
UCLA is the most notable, already offering the 2016 6-foot-8 prospect, but Indiana and Michigan
could follow suit soon.
"It is kind of overwhelming," the forward said. "I used to get nothing, or maybe one dude would
talk to me the whole year after one of my games, but now it's just guy after guy. It is a bit
overwhelming, but I enjoy it."
Leaf said, in addition to UCLA, Michigan and Indiana's new interest, he also believes Cal,
Arizona, New Mexico and Memphis could be close to offering.
Walker lands big offer
Like Leaf, 2015 forward Cameron Walker had a big first weekend of the live evaluation
period, and like Leaf, Walker too landed a big-time offer because of his play.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound wing picked up a Florida offer this week, and came away from
the phone call speechless.
"It's such a big school and I was just overwhelmed," the Compton Magic small forward said.
"Right now, I'm taking it all in."
Walker believes Florida's offer will open the door for more big schools to offer, and he said
Arizona State could be the next one.
Thursday tip-ins
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2015 California Supreme
forward Brodericks Jones listed Syracuse, Colorado, Florida State, Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State as schools coming after him the hardest. The 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward, who's been a known commodity since his eighth-grade year, said
schools are looking at him to play small forward at the next level.
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2016 Compton Magic point
guard Dikymbe Martin had an outstanding game in his lone matchup Thursday, posting
point totals near 30 while also possessing a great handle on the ball. He said he's been hearing
from West Coast programs such as Arizona, Gonzaga, UCLA and Cal this summer.
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2015 Gamepoint guard
Justin Simon showed off a 6-foot-11 wingspan in his only game of the day. Simon can play
the one through three positions, and he can defend the one through the four, and showed that
constantly Thursday. He boasts offers from Santa Clara, New Mexico, San
Jose State, UC Irvine and San Diego, with a host of Pac-12 schools
interested in him as well.
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2015 Compton Magic shooting
guard Rex Pflueger landed a San Diego State offer this week, and he believes
Stanford, Cal, Colorado, ASU and Arizona could be next.
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