The Daily Gamecock

Sophomore forward Aliyah Boston named to AP Preseason All-America Team

Sophomore forward Aliyah Boston stands in a huddle with her fellow teammates during the first official practice of the season.
Sophomore forward Aliyah Boston stands in a huddle with her fellow teammates during the first official practice of the season.

Despite having only played one season of college basketball, sophomore forward Aliyah Boston has been named one of five AP Preseason All-Americans. 

Boston is joined by Louisville’s Dana Evans, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, Arizona’s Aari McDonald and UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere.

As a freshman, Boston averaged 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in 33 games for the Gamecocks, all of which came from games she started in. The 6-foot-5-inch No. 3 recruit in the class of 2019 jumped onto the scene early, recording the first triple-double for a freshman in program history in her first career game and the first for any NCAA Division I player in their debut.

“I have been working on my shot, and I think it’s going to help me this season,” Boston said, speaking about her offseason training in her hometown of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Boston is no stranger to recognition. Since 2019, Boston has earned multiple national and conference awards for her freshman season performance. She was named to the All-SEC First Team and All-America Second Team and was also named SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, National Freshman of the Year and the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year. 

“It’s just good to be able to get back and getting ready for our season. I’m glad we’re having one because we’ve been working so hard, but, I mean, it’s just exciting that we get to play again,” Boston said. 

Her and the AP Preseason No. 1 ranked Gamecocks are preparing for a season unique to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice issues swirling under the leadership of Coach Dawn Staley.

“We’re also using our platform, our social media platform, and I think that’s really important because some people might be afraid to use their voice because they don’t want backlash or things like that,” Boston said. “But Coach Staley has really just told us and emphasized that it’s okay, that we can say how we feel about the social injustice that we’re seeing around the country.”

South Carolina finished the 2019-2020 season as SEC regular season and tournament champions and look to defend those titles this year and compete for an NCAA championship, an opportunity which was not available last year as the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Boston said that throughout the pandemic and this semester she has had daily family devotions with her parents to maintain her mental health and foundation.

“I have a very positive outlook for this season. I think we have a really great team, and we have great chemistry on the court, so I’m really excited to get out and be able to play," Boston said in anticipation of the upcoming season.

The Gamecocks open up the season at home in front of a reduced and socially distanced crowd on Nov. 25 against College of Charleston. They will begin their SEC title defense on Dec. 31 against Ole Miss.