Noble Knights: Chip Cartwright

Dec. 10, 2007

The following story appears in the December edition of KnightVision. Produced 10 times per year, KnightVision is the official publication of the UCF Athletics Asssociation. Each issue includes stories about UCF teams, student-athletes and coaches. To order 10 exciting issues from August through June, call 1-888-877-4373 (ext. 121) or 336-768-3400 (ext. 121).

He made it look so easy. In the first half of UCF's game versus No. 18 Kansas State at the Old Spice Classic in November, Chip Cartwright made the extraordinary look simple.

In transition, the senior guard threw a bullet of a bounce pass from halfcourt to a streaking Jermaine Taylor. Taylor grabbed the perfectly thrown ball inside the paint and quickly rose for a slam dunk over a helpless Kansas State defender.

Sure, Taylor's dunks are nice, but it was the pass, and others like it, that separates Cartwright from UCF's other guards. Unlike Mike O'Donnell, who can score from the backcourt, Cartwright is a point guard who seeks to create scoring opportunities for teammates.

For O'Donnell, the pass to Taylor at the Old Spice Classic epitomized Cartwright's skill set.

"He pushes the ball well in transition," O'Donnell said. "He sees things ahead of time, which is really good for us."

A year ago, Cartwright saw limited time as a reserve, averaging 12.4 minutes per contest in his first season after transferring from Angelina College in Texas. Serving as O'Donnell's backup, Cartwright averaged 1.9 assists per game in 2007-08.

This year, the two guards are playing in the backcourt together, with O'Donnell often moving to shooting guard. The combination has worked as Cartwright has helped O'Donnell get open looks from 3-point range. Quiet and reserved off of the court, Cartwright specializes in driving and dishing.

"When I penetrate, the defense helps and I just kick it out to my shooters," Cartwright said. "They get open and I get it to them."

Cartwright is a change of pace from O'Donnell, who is quick to admit that he is not the fastest player on the court. Head coach Kirk Speraw wants Cartwright to push the tempo, something that Cartwright enjoys doing.

"Coach wants me to come in and push the ball and get a lot of transition going on. I try to speed up the game. I try to use my energy to help the team."

Against 19th-ranked Villanova at the Old Spice Classic, Cartwright made an impact on the defensive end. Listed at 6-foot and 165 pounds, the diminutive guard led the Knights with three blocked shots against the Wildcats.

His most impressive swat came in the first half when he leaped to block a 3-point attempt from Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds.

Defensive plays aside, it is his impressive ball-handling skills and tricky passes that has made Cartwright a fan favorite in 2007-08 at the new UCF Arena.

The passes can come at any time, which is something that Cartwright's teammates try to keep in mind when they are on the floor.

"He is about three or four steps ahead of other people," O'Donnell said of Cartwright. "You always have to have your hands ready because you never know when he is going to give it up."

- Doug Richards