Robert Cartwright moves on up to Prep League MVP

There was no argument at the meeting to determine the All-Prep League boys' basketball team when it came to deciding the most valuable player for the 2012-13 season.

The obvious choice was Flintridge Prep point guard Robert Cartwright, arguably the best offensive and defensive player in the league.

While the Rebels have dominated the Prep League in recent years and have boasted a number of talented players — including center Kenyatta Smith, who recently showcased his skills to the whole nation in the NCAA Tournament with Harvard University — Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said the uniform decision was a little unusual.

"There's usually a little bit of a debate; it seemed to be less so this year," Ohara said. "Coaches recognized it was pretty obvious, pretty clear."

There was no question of the impact senior Kareem Ismail had on Flintridge Prep this season, as the center earned first-team all-league honors after averaging 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds a league game.

"Kareem was able to shore up the paint and I think the biggest thing for him was just pulling down boards, second-shot opportunities, plus being able to score and stay out of foul trouble this year," Ohara said. "His game really progressed."

It was Ismail's first appearance on the all-league team and third in as many years for Cartwright. Each year Cartwright moved up the list. He was a second-team all-league selection after helping the Rebels to the school's first CIF championship as a freshman and a first-team pick after taking on more responsibility last year after Smith graduated.

Cartwright solidified himself as a complete player in his junior campaign. He emerged as the Rebels' best scorer, passer and one of their best defenders, while also filling the role of emotional leader.

"Robert was our leader both on and off the floor with his play on both the defensive and offensive end," Ohara said. "He made things easier offensively for our guys, getting the guys the ball in the right spots and being able to score."

He averaged a team-high 17.8 points, 3.9 assists and 2.6 steals through eight league contests, despite sitting out a large part of most the games, like Ismail, as all but one were blowouts with the closest call coming in a seven-point win over Rio Hondo Prep.

While Cartwright admitted it wasn't "super surprising" to be named the league MVP, he pushed all the praise.

"I think there are multiple guys who are deserving of high recognition this year and I'm lucky I'm the one that gets this award," said Cartwright, who also averaged 3.5 rebounds in league. "It really, in a way, is a team award because we wouldn't be there without my teammates. I'm humbled by it and it's going to push me to work harder."

There were plenty of people for Cartwright to thank who made all-league this year, many of whom he'll miss next year after playing with most of them the past three years.

All five of the Rebels starters earned all-league recognition with Chadd Cosse, Jedrick Eugenio and Kyle Hamane picking up second-team nods.

For nearly a decade, the Rebels have benefited from a strong post presence, carried on by the duo of Ismail and Cosse, a power forward who put up 8.5 points and 7.4 boards a game in league.

Eugenio, a knock-down shooter, was a dangerous scorer from distance and averaged 9.5 points in league. Hamane, a quality defender, played alongside Cartwright at the second guard position and averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 assists in league.

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