BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – South Carolina women’s basketball player Aliyah Boston will have a decision to make after this season. She will have played four years of college basketball and earned her degree in the process. She has professional aspirations, but also another year of eligibility.
The opportunity was ripped from her as a true freshman to try and win a national championship when the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The next year, even though a full season was played and the Gamecocks lost in the Final Four, it was a free year of eligibility for all women’s basketball players.
Boston has accomplished so much during her time with the Gamecocks already with one more certain season still to play. But on Tuesday at SEC Basketball Media Day, she admitted it’s going to be a while before deciding if this season is her last.
“Post-college, in general, my plans are to go to the next level,” Boston said on Tuesday at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Birmingham. “I want to play in the WNBA and be among the pros and grow my game.”
Her head coach, Dawn Staley, may not have any indication on what Boston will want once the ball bounces for the final time this season.
“I tell coach Staley I’m going to wait until the very last second to tell her whatever the plans are,” Boston said, laughing. “My four years at South Carolina have been nothing but the best. It’s been so much fun, and it’s crazy how time flies.”
The topic was presented that WNBA teams “tank” their season to get her as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Of course, the draft will happen before the next season begins, but Boston laughed at the notion and said she “didn’t know” if she thought she was worth “tanking” for.
“To have all the coaches in the WNBA looking at me, it’s truly something special because I know for me and my teammates, it’s a goal to go to the WNBA and continue to play out our basketball career.”
Boston and the Gamecocks will open their season with an exhibition at 7 p.m. against Benedict on Halloween, October 31. A fanfest event at Colonial Life Arena begins at 5 p.m. The regular season begins on Monday, Nov. 7 at home against East Tennessee State with tipoff set for 8:30 p.m.
If accessing this story from Plano’s Proving Grounds message board, click on the link just below to continue reading a Q&A with Boston.
What’s it like to be coached by Dawn Staley?
“It’s amazing. Coach Staley has been able to help me unlock so much and help me grow my game. To be surrounded by her for four years, its been amazing. She’s hard on us, but you know where it’s coming from. You know she wants to be successful, everyone who comes through the program and your next steps, she wants to help you get there, whatever it takes.”
Where have you made your biggest improvements this offseason?
“I’ve worked on my game all the way around. I’ve worked on my outside shots, and continued to be efficient in the block and all around.”
How do you keep yourself from becoming complacent?
“When you think about becoming complacent, that stops you from getting to your ultimate goal. I don’t really want anything to stop me from where I want to go, with God’s help. I just know that I have to continue to work.”
What have you noticed about this year’s team?
“I think we’re continuing to gel. We have some new faces on our roster, so we’re continuing to gel and working together. I’m so excited for the season to start.”
Can you talk about your plans for this maybe being your last year of college and what your plans for your future may be?
“(Laughs.) Good one. Post-college, in general, my plans are to go to the next level. I want to play in the WNBA and be among the pros and grow my game. I tell coach Staley I’m going to wait until the very last second to tell her whatever the plans are (laughs). My four years at South Carolina have been nothing but the best. It’s been so much fun, and it’s crazy how time flies.”
How crazy it for you that people are waiting on that WNBA decision and that teams may want to tank their season for you?
“It’s truly special. I can only thank God, really, because if he didn’t put this dream in my heart at such a young age, who knows where I’d be. To have all the coaches in the WNBA looking at me, it’s truly something special because I know for me and my teammates, it’s a goal to go to the WNBA and continue to play out our basketball career.”
If you were a WNBA franchise, would you tank to draft you first overall?
(Laughs.) “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
How have practices been starting out this year?
“They’ve definitely been intense, because that’s Coach Staley’s way. You always want to start off strong, no matter who you’re playing, no matter when the game is, you want to start off strong. We have some really good games in our non-conference schedule and into our SEC schedule, we have some great teams. You don’t want to get comfortable because the minute you get comfortable, that’s the minute someone can sneak up.”
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