Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cartagena Aims To Leave Mark At Trinity Pawling

The number of high school players who pick up and transfer is astonishing these days.

One of the primary reasons for the uptick in transfers, however, is the growing number of prep programs throughout the country.

There is the allure of the prep school route, which many local HS coaches now have to compete against.

The idea of transferring to an away-from-home campus where you'll be bordered by top-tier talent and entertain a national schedule (with NCAA coaches often meandering through the stands) just seems more enticing.

Again, it's gotten to the point where local HS coaches are essentially recruiting against prep school coaches in keeping homegrown talent.

They are also competing against AAU coaches --major players in the suddenly popular process of shipping kids off to prep school.

Well before today's times, prep schools were mainly appealing for the opportunity of a post-graduate season. The advantages outweigh the costs.

Notre Dame Prep, for example, was instrumental in helping White Plains product and current Brooklyn Net Sean Kilpatrick prepare for the rigors of the college experience. Following a year in which White Plains ascended the national ranks, Kilpatrick did one prep year before entering a guard -laced Cincinnati program. The year of additional experience, plus a redshirt year, enabled him to author an all-American legacy at the Big East program.

For White Plains product Luis Cartagena, prep school was the best route to maximize all scholarship opportunities.

The 5-foot-11 guard, who earned All-Section and All-State honors at White Plains, earned a full ride to Trinity Pawling. The school will invest a year and full scholarship in Cartagena, a gritty combo guard who has gone from a slasher to a facilitator to slasher, facilitator, and shooter. Now converted to a 1,200 shots per day gym rat, Cartagena will offer immediate contributions during his one year stop up north.

Cartagena is the kid who left Yorktown with many pleading for him to consider staying, particularly following a week in which he dropped 29 on Hastings and then proceeded to score 30 points and rip 10 boards on Peekskill as a sophomore.

At White Plains, legendary head coach Spencer Mayfield eliminated Cartagena's demure side and forced him to lead by action and words.

The result was a 20 PPG senior year by Cartagena, who seized the leadership mantle in catapulting the Tigers to a berth in the Section 1 semifinal.

Cartagena On His Upcoming Role

I feel like I'll play a huge role heading into Trinity Pawling. Being that I'm a veteran and one of the post-grad guys, I've got the experience and leadership components to my game. Everyday during the summer, I've had two workouts to get me prepared for what's next.

On Growth

I believe that I've improved in every aspect of my game as far as hitting the jump shot with consistency and being a leader on the court. I would identify myself as a player-coach. Meaning, I've adjusted to being an extension of the coach but also competing with my brothers out there.

On The Prep Experience

Prep School, from my perspective, is a way to improve at anything you do. This gives you another chance to get ready for college. My purpose is to use this opportunity of  attending prep school to become all around better, on the court and in the classroom. The main goal is to walk away with a scholarship and also leave a positive impact on the community of Trinity Pawling. I want to be associated with Trinity Pawling and have a  hand in the success the program generates.

On his biggest influence

I would say my father definitely pushed me the most, not just basketball-wise but in learning how to be a man. Without him, I would never have gotten this far in life. He's led me in the right direction. The number of hours and the amount of money he's invested in me with basketball is mind blowing. It doesn't matter where the workouts or the games are, he made sure that I was there. With the faith of God I want to make sure I can give everything he gave to me back and more.

On The Summer Workload

My summer routine consists of waking up early in the morning and driving myself to Mount Vernon pumping iron at FASST with the help of the almighty coach Pete and coach Vin. After this, I go to Roosevelt HS in Yonkers and get shots up with my Godfather, coach Morris. Most of the time, I'm in the gym with my brother Brandon Redendo preparing for the future.