Aliyah Boston was one of the most decorated student-athletes, not only in South Carolina women’s basketball history, but Gamecock Athletics history. Now she’s starting over. The former 2022 National Player of the Year who helped guide South Carolina to three NCAA Final Fours, the 2022 National Championship and three SEC Regular Season and three SEC Tournament Championships, was the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by the Indiana Fever. While she may be starting over as a professional, she has high expectations for herself.
“I try not to put any additional pressure on myself that I haven’t already put there,” Boston said. “I’m just super excited because it’s a new stage for me. My freshman year at South Carolina, I don’t think I was feeling nervous. I think it was more about being super excited to be here. That’s the mindset I’m taking in here, even though I’m a rookie. I just want to be a strong presence offensively and defensively, but I want to be able to learn and adapt.”
“She makes people better,” said Fever Head Coach Christie Sides. “That’s what excited me about having her. Just anchoring our defense back there, she is able to communicate with all of her teammates. That’s going to be huge for our defense. I’m excited to watch her work in space and see what’s in her bag.”
Boston was one of five Gamecocks selected in this year’s WNBA draft, including Victaria Saxton, who was also selected by the Fever, and seeing fellow “freshies” Zia Cooke, Brea Beal, and Laeticia Amihere get drafted as well makes her excited for the upcoming season.
“It feels really good knowing that V is going to be here because we played together for four years,” Boston said. “I’m excited that she’s going to get an opportunity.
“It was amazing to see all the people that were in that (Draft) room, and even the ones that weren’t in the room. Seeing their names come across the screen was special. All of us put in so much work. This is a long-time dream for them. Coach (Dawn) Staley did a great job with all of us. We all set these high goals for ourselves, and she helped us accomplish those. We still text in our group chat. We’re all going through this process together. We’re just in different places this time.”
“I had so much fun at South Carolina. I would do it all over for another four years if I could because it was just that amazing.”
Boston is also reunited with former Gamecock teammate Destanni Henderson, who is now in her second season with Indiana.
“It’s really nice because we understand each other and what we’re going to do,” Boston said. “I think she is going to help me, especially with the pace of the game. It was so cool to see her (at the WNBA draft). She was so excited for everyone.”
As she begins this next chapter of her career, Boston has great memories of her days in the Garnet and Black.
“There are so many,” Boston said. “The first one is definitely winning a National Championship. I feel like everything was a great memory. I had so much fun at South Carolina. I would do it all over for another four years if I could because it was just that amazing.
She also knows that wherever she goes, South Carolina’s fans, also known as “the FAMS,” will be following her as well.
“They are definitely all in,” Boston said. “The FAMS are the best fans out there. I see them all over social media and they are loving all of the Fever content they are seeing. They’re going to be supportive of us no matter where we go.”