A'ja Wilson

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A'ja Wilson
No. 22 – Las Vegas Aces
Position Power forward
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1996-08-08) August 8, 1996 (age 22)
Hopkins, South Carolina
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school Heathwood Hall Episcopal
(Columbia, South Carolina)
College South Carolina (2014–2018)
WNBA draft 2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Las Vegas Aces
Playing career 2018–present
Career history
2018–present Las Vegas Aces
2018–present Shaanxi Red Wolves
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com

A'ja Riyadh Wilson (born August 8, 1996)[1] is an American professional basketball player for the Las Vegas Aces of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Wilson played for the South Carolina Gamecocks in college, and helped lead the Gamecocks to their first NCAA Women's Basketball Championship in 2017, and won the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. In 2018, she won a record 3rd straight SEC Player of the Year award, led South Carolina to a record 4th straight SEC Tournament Championship, became the all-time leading scorer in South Carolina women's basketball history, and was a consensus first-team All-American for the 3rd consecutive season. Wilson swept all National Player of the Year awards (Wade, AP, Honda, USBWA, Wooden, and Naismith) as the best player in Women's College basketball for 2018. Wilson was the first overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft.

Personal life

Wilson was born to Roscoe and Eva Wilson. Her father played basketball professionally in Europe for 10 seasons. She graduated from Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in 2014. She attended the University of South Carolina, majoring in Mass Communications. She represented the Gamecocks as a forward in basketball.[2] She completed her Senior year at South Carolina. Wilson is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

In 2019, Wilson played for the "Home" roster during the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Bojangles' Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The roster was made up of celebrities with Carolina roots.[3]

High school

Throughout Wilson's high school career she played a total of 119 games. She averaged 24.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks a game throughout her high school career. She was number 22 and played as a forward.[4] After finishing as a runner-up in her junior year, Wilson led Heathwood Hall to the 2014 state championship as a senior. She won the National High School player of the year in 2014, was a Parade and McDonald's All-American, and was the #1 rated ESPN HoopGurlz prospect in 2014.[5] Wilson committed to play for Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina.

College career

Wilson played in 37 games her freshmen year, leading to 4 single game freshmen records in the SEC and 3 single season freshmen records in the SEC, and won the SEC Freshman of the year award.[6] In 2016 as a Sophomore she would win her first SEC Player of the year ward and was a consensus All-American, Wilson led the Gamecocks to a SEC regular season and Tournament Championship. In 2017 Wilson once again led the Gamecocks to a SEC regular season and Tournament championship, and went on to win the schools first National Championship with a stirring victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the championship game. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.[7] In 2018, Wilson had her best season statistically, and won all of the National player of the year awards. She won a record 3rd straight SEC Player of the Year award, and was also a Consensus All-American for the 3rd straight year. Wilson finished her college career at South Carolina as the all-time leading scorer for the school.

South Carolina statistics

Statistics courtesy NCAA Statistics[8]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Year Team GP Points FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2014–15 South Carolina 37 486 53.8% 33.3% 66.2% 6.6 1.0 0.9 1.8 13.1
2015–16 South Carolina 33 530 53.1% 0.0% 72.3% 8.7 1.4 0.8 3.1 16.1
2016–17 South Carolina 35 626 58.8% 0.0% 73.7% 7.8 1.4 1.2 2.6 17.9
2017–18 South Carolina 33 747 54.2% 41.7% 73.2% 11.8 1.7 1.0 3.2 22.6
Career 138 2389 55.0% 37.5% 71.5% 8.7 1.4 1.0 2.6 17.3

Professional career

WNBA

In 2018, Wilson was drafted first overall by the Las Vegas Aces. On May 20, 2018, in her career debut, Wilson scored 14 points along with 10 rebounds in a 101–65 loss to the Connecticut Sun.[9][10] On June 12, 2018, Wilson scored a career-high of 35 points along with 13 rebounds in a 101–92 overtime victory against the Indiana Fever, becoming the second rookie in league history to score 35 points and grab 10 rebounds.[11] Wilson would be voted into the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game. Later on in the season, Wilson would be named the WNBA Rookie of the Year. She was tied for third in scoring. Her season performance almost led the Aces to the playoffs as they finished 9th place with a 14–20 record.

Overseas

In August 2018, Wilson signed with the Shaanxi Red Wolves of the Women's Chinese Basketball Association for the 2018-19 off-season.[12]

WNBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2018 Las Vegas 33 33 30.6 .462 .000 .774 8.0 2.3 0.8 1.6 1.3 20.7
Career 1 year, 1 team 33 33 30.6 .462 .000 .774 8.0 2.2 0.8 1.6 1.3 20.7

Awards and honors

WNBA

  • WNBA All-Star (2018)
  • WNBA Rookie of the Year (2018)

College

High school

  • National High School Player of the Year (WBCA, Naismith, Parade) (2014)
  • McDonald's All-America (2013–14)
  • Parade All-America (2013–14)
  • Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year (2013–2014)

References

  1. ^ "South Carolina Gamecock". South Carolina Gamecocks. University of South Carolina. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "A'ja Wilson Bio University of South Carolina Official Athletic Site". www.gamecocksonline.com. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  3. ^ release, Official. "ESPN and NBA announce celebrity rosters and coaches for 2019 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles exclusively on ESPN". NBA.com. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "A'ja Wilson's High School Girls Basketball Stats". MaxPreps.com. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "HoopGurlz – South Carolina Gamecocks get commitment from A'ja Wilson, No. 1 prospect in espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 for 2014 recruiting class". espnW. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  6. ^ "SEC women's basketball awards announced". SECsports.com. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "Women's Final Four: South Carolina beats Mississippi State to win first national title". CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "NCAA Statistics". web1.ncaa.org. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Mohegan Sun Arena Sunday, May 20, 2018
  10. ^ A'ja Wilson delivers double-double in WNBA debut
  11. ^ A'ja Wilson hits historic mark a few games in to WNBA rookie season
  12. ^ A'ja Wilson signs with China's Team Shanxi, source confirms

External links

  • A'ja Wilson at FIBA
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