After a trailblazing basketball career at the University of South Carolina, forward A’ja Wilson is taking her talents to Las Vegas! The 21-year-old, who averaged 22.6 points and 11.8 rebounds during her senior year, was drafted as a first-round pick to the Women’s National Basketball Association team Las Vegas Aces on April 12th. In honor of her recent promotion to the WNBA, we’ve rounded up 8 facts about the standout baller's life and career:
1. She was born and raised in South Carolina.
A’ja Wilson was born August 8, 1996, in Hopkins, South Carolina to Roscoe and Eva Wilson. She attended Heathwood High School and continued to stay close to home for college by attending the University of South Carolina.
2. She’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The Gamecocks player announced on her Instagram in March that she'd become a member of the Theta Gamma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc.The photo’s caption simply read, "1908" --the year the sorority was founded-- with a basketball representing the zero.
3. Blake Griffin congratulated her on WNBA Draft Day.
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, who is also Wilson’s favorite athlete, wished her well the night of the draft. In a video message he said, "A'ja, what's up! Congratulations on being drafted, it's been very fun to watch your college career, to see you go to the next level. I can't wait to see what you do in the league, you're gonna dominate for a long, long time. So again, congrats and I'll be watching."
4. She was recently named Associated Press National Player of the Year.
In March, a team of writers voted Wilson as the Associated Press National Player of the Year to celebrate her remarkable career in the USC Women’s Basketball program.
5. She helped lead the South Carolina Gamecocks to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.
In 2017, Wilson helped secure the opportunity for her team to compete in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. South Carolina won against Mississippi State 67-55, marking the school’s first-ever NCAA Women’s Basketball title (watch a recap of the game HERE). Wilson also won the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player award during that season.
6. She's accumulated countless accolades during her time at the University of South Carolina.
From the time she set foot on USC’s campus as a freshman, Wilson has been breaking records and making a name for herself as an athletic powerhouse. During her time as a Gamecock, she was able to earn highlights and awards, including 3× Consensus First-team All-American (2016–2018), 3× SEC Player of the Year (2016–2018), and SEC Freshman of the Year (2015).
7. She comes from an athletic family.
Wilson’s father Roscoe C. Wilson Jr. played basketball at Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia, South Carolina. Wilson Jr. later went on to play professional basketball for 10 years in Europe and South America.
8. She is set to graduate this May.
Though she is already on the fast-track to success in the sports world, A’ja still has to walk across the commencement stage. The collegiate athlete is on track to graduate from USC with a degree in Mass Communications in a month.
Have you had the chance to watch A'ja play or do you follow her on Instagram? Show her some love in the comments below, Sweat Sisters!