One of these things, as they say, is not like the others.
The Penn Quakers huddled up late in the second half of last night's game against the Binghamton Bearcats, a team they were expected to defeat handily. The standout shoes in question belong to the guy who called the huddle, Penn guard Miles Cartwright. Although Cartwright was a major contributor and a starter during both his freshman and sophomore seasons, he played alongside two of Penn's top ten career scorers in Tyler Bernardini (1,456 points, 10th all time) and Zack Rosen (1,723 points, 3rd all time). In particular, Rosen played as central a role in the success of last year's Penn team as any player I've ever seen, and was the player of the year in both the Ivy League and the Big 5 - a remarkable accomplishment.
This year, of course, the question was asked - who would fill Rosen's shoes? (Sorry.) Cartwright was the obvious candidate, and he was named one of the team's captains for this season, along with fellow juniors Fran Dougherty and Dau Jok. Cartwright's point production has certainly jumped up, though we all know that replacing a senior like Rosen means a lot more than that.
I'm not here to render a judgment on, or even really analyze, Cartwright's performance so far. In the few games I've seen, he seems steady with the ball, a quick driver, and an active communicator. That's just an impression, though - mostly I'm intrigued by the player who brought this to the Penn-Princeton game as a freshman:
Apparently it was on some sort of highlight show later that night? No idea.
Anyway, who is this guy? We'll start with the part I can hear the Palestra's PA announcer saying in my head: "a junior, from Van Nuys, California." The California vibe can't be missed, whether it's tweeting pictures of In-N-Out or keeping it low key during player intros.
But ... not so low key that when Penn traveled to UCLA last year, he didn't suggest that, given that both he and Bernardini were from the area "there might be more Penn fans than UCLA fans" at the game.
Also, I'm pretty sure Cartwright and I have at least one thing in common: he can also hear Rich Kahn's voice in his head, since he named his personal website "a media timeout" - a distinctive, lilting call ("timeout, timeout, a media timeout") that's become a running joke in my house.
One thing we do not have in common - a dislike of Belgian food. Cartwright spent part of his summer playing hoops in northern Europe with the Global Sports Academy, and told Dave Zeitlin that he thought the food was "horrible." Personally, I don't know if I could live on mussels, fries, beer and chocolate, but I'd be willing to give it a try.
Mostly, though, what this outsider sees is that Cartwright brings Penn a dose of the cool you see in his coach, former Penn guard and snappy dresser Jerome Allen. (Allen's 9th on that list I mentioned earlier.)
Whether it's fashion, music, or #omgivydunx, I think the kids these days might call it swag. Whatever, I'm just saying - I see that attitude on the court, and so if I were you I'd keep an eye on Cartwright. I think he's a player you'll want to know.
(Side note: apparently the two things you see in giant braces in the background of the lead photo are called "Frankles." More on that later.)
at PENNSYLVANIA 65, BINGHAMTON 54 11/28/2012
BINGHAMTON 2-5 (0-0) -- J. Reed 5-18 7-12 17; T. Johnston 1-3 0-0 2; R. Moquete 4-10 1-2 10; A. Ogundadegbe 2-6 2-2 6; J. Gray 2-7 0-0 5; K. Brown 1-3 1-2 3; K. Waller 0-4 2-2 2; R. Brown 2-4 3-6 7; J. Ralling 0-3 2-2 2. Totals 17-58 18-28 54. PENNSYLVANIA 2-5 (0-0) -- F. Dougherty 4-12 2-2 11; M. Cartwright 4-10 4-4 15; C. Crocker 2-5 1-2 7; J. Lewis 0-1 0-0 0; S. Rennard 0-1 2-2 2; H. Brooks 2-8 1-3 5; D. Nelson-Henry 2-6 3-3 7; D. Jok 3-3 0-0 8; G. Louis 2-3 0-1 5; T. Hicks 0-4 2-2 2; P. Lucas-Perry 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 20-58 15-19 65.
Three-point goals: BING 2-16 (T. Johnston 0-2; J. Gray 1-5; R. Moquete 1-6; K. Brown 0-1; J. Reed 0-2), PENN 10-25 (M. Cartwright 3-6; F. Dougherty 1-3; D. Jok 2-2; S. Rennard 0-1; C. Crocker 2-5; G. Louis 1-2; P. Lucas-Perry 1-3; T. Hicks 0-2; J. Lewis 0-1); Rebounds: BING 43 (A. Ogundadegbe 12), PENN 33 (F. Dougherty 13); Assists: BING 5 (J. Gray 2), PENN 16 (M. Cartwright 4); Total Fouls -- BING 21, PENN 24; Fouled Out: BING-R. Brown; PENN-None.