Another first for A'ja Wilson happened Thursday night as the Las Vegas Aces selected Wilson with the first overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft. Just four years ago, Wilson was the No. 1 women's basketball recruit to start her college career, and now she's the No. 1 pick to start her professional career.
Wilson finished her South Carolina career as the unanimous 2018 National Player of the Year, claiming all seven of those honors and more during her final collegiate season. She also leaves as a national champion, four-time SEC tournament champion and three-time SEC Player of the Year. Wilson also made her mark in South Carolina's record books, claiming numerous records but leaving as the all-time leading scorer.
This will be the first season the Aces will play in Las Vegas. They just relocated after spending 14 seasons in San Antonio, Texas. The Aces also got a new head coach when they relocated and now will be coached by Bill Laimbeer, who had high praise for Wilson during a teleconference a week ago.
Wilson is just the third Gamecock to ever be drafted first overall, and is the first ever from either of South Carolina's basketball programs. The other two were George Rodgers in 1981 by the New Orleans Saints and Jadeveon Clowney in 2014 by the Houston Texans.
Wilson is another successful product of the Dawn Staley era, becoming the the fifth top-10 pick over the past three seasons. Tiffany Mitchell was picked ninth overall in 2016, then three were taken in 2017; Alaina Coates second, Allisha Gray fourth and Kaela Davis 10th.
Wilson gets to work right away as the WNBA season opener is right around the corner. Her first preseason game is May 6 against the Chinese National Team, followed by her first regular season game on May 13 against the Connecticut Sun, just one day after Wilson graduates from the University of South Carolina.