By Tom Robinson
Lauren Charlton, a JB Hoops alum and Dallas High School senior, gave her verbal commitment tonight to continue her academic and athletic careers in the Ivy League as a member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team.
“I’m just in love with the school, everything about it,” Charlton said. “The academics are just what I was going for. The whole coaching staff is absolutely amazing. I got along so well with the girls on the team.
“I can really see myself there. It’s like the perfect distance. Right when we went there, we just fell in love with it. I’m beyond excited to be spending the next four years there.”
Charlton said she will select a major in the health sciences field.
The decision came after Charlton visited the school and was offered a spot in the program.
Charlton also made unofficial visits to Binghamton University, La Salle University and Loyola of Maryland. The 6-foot wing player had received basketball scholarship offers from Division I schools Binghamton, La Salle, St. Bonaventure and Merrimack along with receiving interest from Division II and III colleges.
Each of Charlton’s last two high school seasons has been shortened by injuries that led to surgeries on each shoulder. She played a prominent role this summer when the JB Hoops Bucci team went 27-2, finishing first or second in every event it entered.
“Lauren had a tremendous summer,” coach John Bucci said. “Her shooting was consistent, but I thought she really turned some heads with her better play on the defensive end and rebounding the basketball.”
Charlton and her JB Hoops teammates capped the season with a division title at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Chicago and a bracket title at the USJN 17U Nationals in Oxon Hill, Md.
“I did feel like I kind of blossomed because I was playing with such an amazing group of girls and we were having such a great time together,” Charlton said. “Not only off the court, but on the court, we worked so well together.
“ … I did feel like I came out of my shell in a way and it did help me become a better leader. We definitely had the best season this summer. It’s going to be very memorable.”
Charlton has been working toward trying to create similar success in her final high school season at Dallas.
“I’ve been working out a lot,” Charlton said. “I’m trying to get into good shape for this season.
“ … We’ve been spending a lot of time together in open gym and in some after-school workouts that I’ve been running. We’re all just so excited for this season. We can’t wait to see what happens.”
Charlton follows up former JB Hoops teammate Victoria Toomey committing last season to Rider University where she is scheduled to make her debut Tuesday.
“It’s great for the program,” Bucci said. “ … Probably in the next two or three weeks, we’re going to have four or five other girls from this year’s team deciding where they’re going to go.
“It’s an exciting time for the JB Hoops program.”
By Tom Robinson