Providence was in dire need of point guard help when Kyron Cartwright was contacted following his de-commitment from Loyola Marymount. Cartwright had asked for a release from his National Letter of Intent because the Lions fired head coach Max Good. Once Cartwright was granted that release former Providence associate head coach Andre LaFleur got a call from Cartwright’s high school coach, Anthony Thomas. LaFleur and Thomas were AAU teammates a lifetime ago for west coast based Slam n Jam in the early 1980’s.
Cartwright visited and committed to Providence in short order and would go on to serve as Kris Dunn’s backup and occasional running-mate in the 2014-15 season. Dunn was coming off his second shoulder surgery and the Friars would even bring in German guard Tyree Chambers for additional insurance for Dunn, but it was Cartwright who stepped right into his role and flourished. His numbers won’t hit you across the face in the way that Dunn’s boxscore-filling stats do, but Cartwright was a very solid guard for Ed Cooley the last two seasons.
In year three at Providence, Cartwright will be handed the keys to the Friars offense and he appears ready to take on that leadership role that is required of upperclassmen on teams with mostly underclassmen. Cartwright’s growing leadership qualities were on display towards the end of last season when Cooley remarked about Cartwright’s presence in the huddle during Providence’s February 25, 2016 game at Seton Hall. Cooley, speaking to the media following his team’s next game against DePaul two days later, said “Kyron came in the huddle the other day (at Seton Hall) and was as demonstrative and as passionate as we’ve ever had.” Cooley continued, “I’m really, really proud of him. You all don’t see the growth he’s had. When you’re in those huddles and your team is struggling, Kyron’s voice was commanding. When you’re a leader you don’t ask, you command.” Cartwright had a team-leading 8 assists in that DePaul game. He started in place of the ill Dunn and was the second-leading scorer with 16 points behind 28 from Ben Bentil.
Cartwright’s biggest improvement last season were in his assist-to-turnover ratio and his three-point shooting.
Cartwright was actually fairly good with the ball as a freshman, but his final assist-to-turnover ratio ended up at 2.6/1.2. His sophomore year improved to 4.0/1.4. Cartwright had the 80th-best assist rate in the country last season at 30.5%, per Kenpom.com. To put his improvement in this area into perspective, he played 208 more minutes in his sophomore season with just an increase of 8 turnovers.
In terms of shooting from beyond the arc, Cartwright was an abysmal 4/33 in his rookie season, good for 12.1%. His sophomore year jumped to 20/55, or 36.4%. His form from downtown is still a little too much of a stagnant, set shot, but he certainly improved his make percentage and that is nothing to sneeze at.
Cartwright will be joined in the Providence backcourt by freshman Maliek White and the two could certainly see time together, like Cartwright and Dunn did the last two seasons. Drew Edwards will also be in the mix at the point guard spot, though he is rehabbing from offseason knee surgery. The bottomline is that Cartwright will be looked at as one of the 2016-17 leaders for this Providence team and it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that he was chosen as a team captain. Cartwright may not be the most flashy point guard and he certainly isn’t Dunn, but he may just be the right player for Cooley’s Friar squad that appears headed for a year of development after three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.