A’ja Wilson Brings Superstardom to an Already Star-Studded USC Basketball Team


Freshman superstar A’ja Wilson put up the first points of the Lady Gamecocks regulation season (and her college career) on Saturday by driving down the court in the first three minutes of the game versus the other USC (Southern Cal).  The #2 ranked Lady Gamecocks ended up winning 70-61 and will face Clemson, at home, on Thursday at 7 p.m.

In our last look at the Lady Gamecocks and their head coach Dawn Staley here, we discussed how the Lady Gamecocks had continued winning more games, season over season, under Staley’s leadership.  Our Women’s Basketball team is already full of amazing players, including three members named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team: Alaina Coates, Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch, but today we want to examine the Number 1 ESPNw recruit who joined the Gamecocks this year: A’ja Wilson, #22.

A’ja has been a basketball superstar for the majority of her preteen and adult life; she played Varsity ball at Heathwood Hall as an eighth grader (she would have been in seventh but SC regulations prohibit that).  During her high school time, she lead Heathwood Hall to the State Championship twice, winning first round her senior year and runner up her junior year.  She was named the State Player of the Year, the SC Gatorade Player of the Year, Parade Magazine Player of the Year and the Naismith Player of the Year.

She’s also played for Team USA in the U18 and U19 Americas and World National Championships, bringing home Gold Medals from both and being named MVP in the 2014 Americas U18.

Heading into the regular NCAA signing period, she was the only top 100 player undeclared; lucky for us, she committed to South Carolina, stating, “There’s no place like home.”

“There’s no place like home.” A’ja Wilson

On paper, she’s a power forward, but at 6’3, she’s got plenty of versatility and is able to adapt her style to whatever her opponents’ stature is.  She’s adept at playing center, as she did for Team USA, is an experienced guard and A’ja compares her playing style to her idol, Candace Parker, who is a guard/forward for the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team.

Her high school average was 34.4 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5 blocks per game, with a shooting percentage of 57.  Someone that talented in high school brings a lot of potential to South Carolina and under Coach Staley’s leadership and I’m certain we have a lot to expect and see from A’ja this season.