Wilson with Las Vegas in 2019
|No. 22 – Las Vegas Aces|
|Born||August 8, 1996|
Hopkins, South Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|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|
|2018–present||Las Vegas Aces|
|2018–2019||Shaanxi Red Wolves|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at WNBA.com|
A’ja Riyadh Wilson (born August 8, 1996) is an American professional women's 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 the 2018 WNBA Draft, she was drafted first overall by the Aces. That same year, 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 born to Roscoe, Jr. 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. 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.
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. 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. Wilson committed to play for Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina.
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. In 2016 as a Sophomore she would win her first SEC Player of the year award 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
On June 29, 2019, Wilson scored a new career-high 39 points in a 102–97 overtime victory against the Indiana Fever. In July, Wilson suffered an ankle injury that kept her out for 4 weeks, causing her to miss the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game. She made her return in mid-August. By the end of the season, the Aces finished with a 21–13 record and the number 4 seed, receiving a bye to the second round, helping the franchise get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. In the second round elimination game, the Aces defeated the Chicago Sky 93–92 in a thriller game, where teammate Dearica Hamby came up with a steal and nailed the game-winning three from half-court with 4 second left. However, in the semi-finals, the Aces would lose in four games to the Washington Mystics would go on to win the 2019 WNBA championship.
Wilson won the 2020 WNBA MVP.
|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|
|Career||3 years, 1 team||81||80||30.2||.472||.000||.781||7.6||2.0||0.8||1.8||1.7||19.3|
|Career||2 year, 1 team||13||13||33.7||.436||.000||.950||7.8||1.6||0.6||2.0||1.6||13.4|
Source: College statistics courtesy of NCAA Statistics
Awards and honors
- WNBA All-Star (2018) (2019)
- WNBA Rookie of the Year (2018)
- WNBA Most Valuable Player (2020)
- NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (2017)
- Wade Trophy (2018)
- John R. Wooden Award (2018)
- Honda Sports Award (2018)
- Naismith College Player of the Year (2018)
- AP Player of the Year (2018)
- USBWA Player of the Year (2018)
- 3× Consensus first-team All-American (2016–2018)
- 3× SEC Player of the Year (2016–2018)
- 4× First-team All-SEC (2015–2018)
- SEC Freshman of the Year (2015)
- SEC All-Freshman Team (2015)
- 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)
- "South Carolina Gamecock". South Carolina Gamecocks. University of South Carolina. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- "A'ja Wilson Bio University of South Carolina Official Athletic Site". www.gamecocksonline.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- 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.
- "A'ja Wilson's High School Girls Basketball Stats". MaxPreps.com. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- "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.
- "SEC women's basketball awards announced". SECsports.com. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Women's Final Four: South Carolina beats Mississippi State to win first national title". CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
- "Mohegan Sun Arena Sunday, May 20, 2018". wnba.com.
- "A'ja Wilson delivers double-double in WNBA debut". thestate.com.
- "A'ja Wilson hits historic mark a few games in to WNBA rookie season". thestate.com.
- "A'ja Wilson scores career-high 39, Aces beat Fever in OT". apnews.com.
- "A'ja Wilson signs with China's Team Shanxi, source confirms". spursandfeathers.com.
- "NCAA Statistics". web1.ncaa.org. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- "A'ja Wilson - Women's Basketball". University of South Carolina Athletics. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- "A'ja Wilson picks up Honda Sport Award for basketball". ABC Columbia. April 12, 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- "A'ja Wilson of South Carolina Named Honda Sport Award Winner for Basketball". CWSA. April 12, 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2020.