Iowa City, Ia. — Anthony Cartwright often had company when he headed off to his job as a recreation supervisor for the city of Compton, Calif.
His oldest son, Bryce, tagged along. Bryce used city facilities to learn to swim and dive, and he became quite the bowler. But basketball became his passion. And Lueders Park, the city’s hoops hotspot, became a second home.
“That’s where it all started,” Bryce said. “I’ve gone there from one to 20 years old.”
Diante Garrett’s first passion was soccer. But when he changed elementary schools in Milwaukee, Wis., basketball became his game.
“I started playing competitively around fifth or sixth grade, and never stopped,” Garrett said.
Cartwright, a junior at Iowa, and Garrett, a senior at Iowa State, are the starting point guards for their respective teams and will square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Garrett’s path to basketball was a natural since his father, Dick, was a first-round NBA draft pick in 1969 and played in the league for five seasons.
“I know he’s always there for me when I need someone to talk to,” Diante said. “He played in the league. He’s been where I want to go, so why wouldn’t I want to pick his brain? We talk about five times a week, it seems. He tells me that every shot I take, I can make.”
Garrett has made a quick adjustment to the faster style of play incorporated by first-year coach Fred Hoiberg.
“On the first day I got the job, I told Diante that this is his team,” Hoiberg said. “I told him, ‘I want you to be the playmaker and make everybody else better.’ ”
Garrett is averaging 17 points and six assists, both career highs, for the 7-2 Cyclones.
“When you’re out there playing with confidence, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “You play with a swagger, and Diante definitely has that right now.”
Cartwright is averaging 10.2 points and 4.1 assists, also career bests, for the 5-4 Hawkeyes. When Fran McCaffery was hired at Iowa, his first order of business was finding a backup guard to Cully Payne, out indefinitely after surgery for a sports hernia Nov. 30.
Cartwright played at Fresno State as a freshman, and at Paris (Texas) Junior College as a sophomore. He was looking at Oregon and Miami of Ohio when Iowa offered a ride in early June.
“We signed him so late that I’m not sure I knew exactly what I was getting,” McCaffery said.
On film, McCaffery liked Cartwright’s feel for the game and his skill set. Cartwright also passed the character test when he made his campus visit.
“When you take someone who has played a lot of basketball, has some athletic ability and has some character, then you have a chance to have someone who is pretty good,” McCaffery said. “He has been terrific.”
Garrett said Hoiberg’s faster pace fits his skills.
“This offense is a guard’s dream,” Garrett said.
Cartwright also enjoys running McCaffery’s system, which pushes the ball on the fast break whenever possible.
“Whatever we have to do to win, I’ll do it,” Cartwright said.
Back in Compton, Anthony watches on the Big Ten Network.
“He’s always been in the gym,” Anthony said.
BREAKING DOWN THE POINT GUARDS
No. 10, 6-4, sr.
THIS SEASON: 17 points,3.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists
CAREER HIGHS: 28 pointsvs. Creighton (this season),nine rebounds (twice),11 assists (three times)
CAREER DETAILS: Has started 77 games at Iowa State; needs 36 points and 30 assists to join Jeff Hornacek and Terry Woods in the school’s 1,000 points/500 assists club; fifth in career assists with 470; currently second in the Big 12 in assists.
No. 24, 6-1, jr.
THIS SEASON: 10.2 points,2.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists
CAREER HIGHS: 20 pointsvs. Cal Poly (2008), six rebounds vs. Louisiana Tech (2009),eight assists (five times)
CAREER DETAILS: Played freshman season at Fresno State, starting 20 of 34 games and averaging 4.9 points and 3.2 assists; played last season at Paris (Texas) Junior College, averaging nine points and 3.5 assists; has started last four games at Iowa.
FRIDAY’S GAME CAPSULE
WHO: Iowa State (7-2) at Iowa (5-4)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Big Ten Network, Hawkeye Radio Network, 1040 AM, Cyclone Radio Network, 100.3 FM
TICKETS: $25, $15 youth (18-under) and U of I students
STATISTICAL LEADERS: For Iowa State — Diante Garrett 17 ppg, Jake Anderson 8.4 rpg, Garrett 6.0 apg; For Iowa — Eric May13.0 ppg, Melsahn Basabe 6.0 rpg, Bryce Cartwright 4.1 apg.
ABOUT THE CYCLONES: Garrett is the only player on Iowa State’s active roster to play a game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Iowa has won 26 of the 31 games played against Iowa State in Iowa City.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball