Johnny Dawkins

2014 PG Robert Cartwright an important commitment for Stanford

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On Wednesday night the Stanford basketball program received an important verbal commitment, one that shores up the backcourt for head coach Johnny Dawkins with starting point guard Aaron Bright entering his senior season.

According to Josh Gershon of Scout.com, 2014 point guard Robert Cartwright has verbally committed to attend the Pac-12 school (subscription required). The 6-3 Cartwright, who attends Flintridge Prep, is Stanford’s first verbal commitment in the 2014 class. And as noted above, Bright’s status is one of the reasons why this development is so important for the Cardinal.

Cartwright helped lead Flintridge Prep to a 22-7 record last season with averages of 18.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. He’s also a very good defender who will help Stanford in that department when he arrives on campus, combining with current freshmen Malcolm and Marcus Allen (they’re twins). And when 2014 rolls around Chasson Randle will be a senior, meaning that the Cardinal will have a primary scorer so as not to put too much pressure on the underclassmen.

Academics were an important part of the decision-making process for Cartwright, who chose to remain at Flintridge Prep for that very reason. “It’s a fantastic academic school,” Cartwright told Eric Sondheimer of the LA Times back in February. “The moment I stepped on here in seventh grade, I loved it. The teachers were wonderful, the kids were wonderful and I loved my coach.” And according to multiple outlets, once Cartwright received the go-ahead from admissions he was ready to commit to Stanford.

With Bright graduating in 2014 and Randle the following season, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins needed another piece moving forward. With Cartwright on board, the Cardinal are well-positioned from a depth standpoint.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: