Sara Yang/The Daily Gamecock

Staley acquires nationally-ranked recruits, becomes No. 1 for 2019 recruiting class

As the coaching staff for the South Carolina women's basketball team continues regular season play, the Gamecocks will have a solid recruiting class for the upcoming season.

South Carolina is looking to acquire quite a few top prospects. So far, the Gamecocks have the top recruiting class in the country for 2019. 

The latest addition is Aliyah Boston, No. 3 in ESPN's rankings. Boston is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, but goes to school in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is a three-time gold medalist for USA Basketball. 

Boston has gathered a number of other awards, including the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year Award in 2017 and 2018. She was also named MVP of 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, in which she led her team to a gold medal for the United States.

Boston signed with the Gamecocks along with three other five-star recruits: Zia Cooke, Laeticia Amihere and Brea Beal. 

Cooke, who has been a member of the USA Women's National Team for the past two years, is No. 7 overall and the No. 2 guard in the class of 2019. 

Amihere, who is from Canada, is ranked No. 10 and was a member of the Canadian Senior Women's National Team in 2016. 

No. 13 Beal was named the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018. She was also named to the IBCA 1st-team 3A/4A All-State in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Olivia Thompson, a three-star preferred walk-on, also signed with the Gamecocks.A guard from Lexington, South Carolina, she led the state with 105 3-pointers her junior year. She averaged 21.4 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

"Olivia's ability to shoot the ball is what immediately drew our attention, but it was her drive for greatness and her love of South Carolina that made it the right fit," head coach Dawn Staley told GamecocksOnline.com.

The recruiting process takes a few years, beginning with visits and offers. Staley and her team have been vocal about the amount of work they've put in to building this recruiting class.

"This particular signing, we're getting repaid for all the work that we put in in prior years and came up empty with some of the best prospects in the country," Staley said.

Most of the legwork for recruiting is done by Staley's team. She believes it is important for recruits to choose South Carolina of their own accord. Usually, Staley's job is to seal the deal. 

 "Mary Wooley, who’s our director of recruiting, runs a tight ship," Staley said. "Our assistant coaches do a great job before they hit campus, they’re talking to them, they’re talking to every single person that’s involved in their lives, and they put me in the position where I just have to pick up the phone and call or text." 

Staley is happy with the recruiting class, but has also talked about the possibility of recruits choosing to leave.

”We can smile today, for sure, but we gotta keep them here too," Staley said. "The transfer rate is high."

South Carolina will continue recruit players until the next NCAA Dead Period that starts Dec. 24.


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