JOHNSTOWN – Jason Carter didn’t plan on making a college decision this early.
Call it divine intervention, call it a gut feeling, call it what you like. But Ohio University seemed right from the start.
On Tuesday, Johnstown’s versatile 6-foot-6 forward committed to the Bobcats, taking a big load off his shoulders as he prepares for his senior season. He also had considered Northern Kentucky, Miami of Ohio and Toledo.
“When I went down for my first visit, it just felt right,” said Carter, a first-team Division II All-Ohioan who averaged 20.9 points and 11.2 rebounds for the Johnnies. “This past visit, I didn’t plan to make this decision this soon. But I felt God told me that it was best to play here.”
Carter also cited Ohio’s coaching staff, led by second-year head coach Saul Phillips, as a reason for his choice.
“Coach Phillips is a great guy, and he told me he loves to go big, so I liked that,” he said. “They’re looking at me as a stretch 4 or a 3, depending upon the lineup, the teams we play and the matchups. I think I’m a good fit for them.”
Carter also knows players in Ohio’s incoming freshman class, namely Newark’s Jordan Dartis and Northland’s Doug Taylor.
“I’m excited to play with them,” he said. “Jordan is a true point guard and a team player, and I like that.”
Despite his gaudy numbers, Carter also has put his team first, leading Johnstown to the Licking County League championship and a Division II district runner-up finish. He was LCL Co-Player of the Year with Lakewood’s Reece Dupler. In a second-round tournament win against Buckeye Valley, Carter had 29 points and 27 rebounds.
“Jason is a game changer on both ends of the floor,” Johnstown coach Kevin Martin said after Carter’s first-team All-Ohio selection. “He has a high IQ and a multitalented skill level to match. He is a tremendous rebounder and has the ability to score from the post, perimeter or attacking the rim. He is a great teammate with an unselfish attitude who makes players around him better.”
He’s honing his skills this summer with Team Work, a club that features players from across Ohio, including four from the Dublin area. They have upcoming tournaments in Indiana, Cincinnati and Louisville.
“I’ve been working on my perimeter defense and developing more of a shot from outside,” Carter said.
Now that he’s made his decision, he can focus on getting Johnstown back to the district finals and winning a title this time.
“It’s a big goal,” he said.
The Johnnies graduated some key role players from last year, but Carter said the pieces of a new puzzle are starting to take shape.
“We have a good senior class, and a solid junior class coming up,” he said. “We got off to a little slow start this summer, but we ended it really well and started coming together.”