COLUMBIA, S.C. — A’ja Wilson, South Carolina women’s basketball’s most decorated player, was not in New York last week for the WNBA Draft.
Instead, Wilson was watching three of her teammates being drafted and thinking about what the moment will be like next year when she hears her name called in the 2018 WNBA Draft.
“At the same time, I was just taking it in,” Wilson said at Monday’s Gamecock Gala. “But, yeah, I was just dreaming about it.”
The SEC player of the year and All-American was not eligible for this season’s draft. Wilson is only 20 years old, not reaching the WNBA requirement of turning 22 in the calendar year to be eligible to enter the draft before graduating.
But the magnitude of the moment of watching her teammates Alaina Coates, Allisha Gray and Kaela Davis all be selected in the Top 10 of this year’s draft still had an impact on Wilson.
“It was magnificent,” Wilson said. “Just watching them and seeing them get all cute and having their name called at the draft, it was a great feeling. They have put in the work, countless hours in the gym and for them to get their dream of going into the league, it’s a great feeling to have them make that dream come true.”
Wilson scored 17.7 points per game as a junior, helping lead the Gamecocks to the program’s first national title. She said life has mostly been the same since winning the title on April 2 in Dallas.
There are moments that Wilson realizes how big the accomplishment truly was and that she is a national champion now. Among those was the parade held in Columbia for the Gamecocks and when she’s walking through the mall.
“I’m taking it all in, still enjoying my junior year and heading toward senior year,” Wilson said.