“They wouldn’t send me a big envelope for nothing,” she thought as she opened the USA Basketball correspondence to discover that she was one of 33 invitees to the U-16 national team trials May 23-27 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“It’s huge,” Carter said. “Honestly, I didn’t even expect it. I saw the envelope and was like, wow. I just didn’t think anyone knew about me, knew my name, really. It shocked me.”
But aren’t you on various recruiting lists for being considered one of the top players in the class of 2015?
“I’m sure I’m on one now,” Carter said. “I don’t really pay attention to it.”
St. John’s Coach Jonathan Scribner was not taken aback by the selection, or Carter’s reaction to it.
“Amari’s not one of those players where these are big, huge goals for her,” he said. “Some players strive to make that one of their goals from day one in ninth grade. Amari is more low key.”
The 5-foot-8 Carter and 6-2 C.H. Flowers sophomore De’Janae Boykin were the two local invitees to the tryouts. They were teammates briefly their freshman seasons when Boykin was at St. John’s before transferring to Riverdale Baptist.
Another 100 or so players have applied to compete in the U-16 tryouts. So from among 130 players or so, the national coaches will select a team of 12 girls to represent the country at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship set for June 19-23 in Cancun, Mexico.
Carter averaged 10.7 points this past season for No. 1 St. John’s, which won the WCAC regular season and tournament titles. She often played in the shadow of senior guard Lindsay Allen, a Notre Dame signee and former U-17 national player.
Carter, who twice last season scored a season-high 19 points against Good Counsel, including in the league championship, has consulted Allen for advice on the national team tryouts, but she is one up on the All-Met player of the year in this regard: For Allen’s first trip to Colorado Springs, she had to apply to attend and did not make the team. Carter is an invitee, which could give her a greater opportunity to crack the squad her first year.
“[Allen] said just to go out there and and play with confidence and she said you have to get used to the air up there because that can be really difficult,” Carter said. “She said that [the coaches] really like when the players are really vocal. I know I could go out there and play [hard], but the vocal part is one thing that I really need to stress when I’m out there.”
Carter next season will go from being an integral complementary piece to Allen and senior forward Tori Oliver (Columbia) to becoming one of the most high-profile players in the WCAC. The second-team all-league choice was the only sophomore picked on the first, second or third all-conference teams, a group of 20 players.
“When I had my exit meeting with her [after the season],” Scribner said, “I said, ‘Here’s the key to the car. You’re driving for the next two years.'”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 2
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The most appropriate answer would be the weather forecast. Even with no more rain, it’s hard to say what games will end up being played given the wet field conditions. But let’s go with the second games in the two three-game WCAC baseball semifinal series. DeMatha can advance to the league final with a with at Paul VI Catholic at 6:30 p.m., and McNamara can advance with a win over top-seeded St. John’s at 4 p.m. at the Prince George’s Boys and Girls Club Sports Park. DeMatha and McNamara won the first games in each series.