Aliyah Boston declared for the 2023 WNBA draft Saturday, one day after South Carolina’s Final Four loss to Iowa.
She had remained coy following her team’s Elite Eight win Monday, and she remained undecided as late as Friday night, she said after the Gamecocks suffered their first defeat of the season.
“Haven’t decided as [of] yet,” she said. “This decision is a big decision. I was going to have to really write down the pros and cons of everything whether we won or not, it would still have to be something that I would have to consider.”
Even before she made her decision, though, she reflected on her time playing for Dawn Staley at South Carolina. She teared up when talking about what the coach has meant to her.
“Playing under Coach Staley, she’s helped me with my confidence a lot. She’s always been that second mom, no matter what,” she said. “And on the court, she just motivates you. She always pushes you to be the best person that you can be. You don’t have to be perfect.. She knows that you make mistakes.
“But I think she just helps you every step of the way. She asks you questions if you don’t know. She goes into more detail. She wants to see you succeed.”
And for Staley’s part, she already knew where she wanted to see her star player next year: in the WNBA.
“I’m going to tell her to go. There are defenses that are played against her that won’t allow her to play her game. And then it’s hard to officiate that,” she said when asked what she would tell Boston if she asked her opinion. “So I would tell her to go. She’s great. She’s ready. She’s ready to see single coverage. She’s ready to make the next step to the league.
“I mean, she’s meant everything to our program. She has been the cornerstone of our program for the past four years. She elevated us. She raised the standard of how to approach basketball. She’s never had a bad day.
“She’s never come into practice sulking. She’s always just the person that you saw, so very, very consistent. I slept very well knowing she was with our program, and I’ll sleep well knowing that she’s okay and she will definitely make her mark at the next level.”
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