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St. John’s guard Amari Carter looks forward to playing at Penn State

St. John’s guard Amari Carter commits to Penn State ( Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

On Mother’s Day, St. John’s guard Amari Carter offered Penn State Coach Coquese Washington a present from 200 miles away. She called the Nittany Lions coach to give her verbal commitment to the back-to-back Big Ten regular season champions.

In early March, the All-Met whittled her list of offers down to Penn State and Kentucky, but she gave no timetable on her decision. Carter visited Penn State in late April, met with the director of the Smeal College of Business and took in the spring football game at Happy Valley. After the visit she felt knew Penn State was the perfect fit for her, she planned a trip to Lexington in April but that never materialized.

“I love it there, I love the coaches and it just felt right,” Carter said. “Coach Washington has a great spirit, and I would love to play with her. I loved the environment and the people.”

The explosive 5-foot-8 guard is rated as the seventh-best player in the nation and fourth-best point guard by ESPN. She hasgrown an inch since the season ended,and says she can now touch the rim.

She battled through stress fractures in her shins for much of last season to score 17.5 points per game and lead the Cadets to the WCAC tournament final and D.C. State Athletic Association title.

Upon the season’s completion she took a two month hiatus from the game, her longest break from the sport. She said her shins felt completely healed just before the USA World Championship U17 National Team tryouts in late May.

Carter performed well among the best players in the country for the second straight year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Spring, Colo., but she was once again was left off the team.

“It was fun, I saw a lot of new faces and it was a great experience,” Carter said. “I felt like I played well, but they just didn’t pick me.”

She’s spending her summer playing with the Lady Terps 17U team and wants to come back in the winter as a better finisher at the basket.

“I want to finish better through contact,” Carter said. “Some teams would let me shoot the three last year, I want to switch things up and increase my range.”

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