Aliyah Boston forgoes 5th year at South Carolina, declares for WNBA draft

South Carolina Gamecocks superstar Aliyah Boston has made an important decision about her future.

In a social media post, the 2023 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year announced she will forgo her final year of eligibility and declare for the WNBA Draft. 

“God makes no mistakes this program has been so good to my family and I. Wouldn’t trade these past 4 years for anything. With love gamecock nation,” Boston wrote in a tweet Saturday.

She added that leaving South Carolina is the “next best decision” for her.

“In this moment, I am truly breathless as I make the next best decision of my life,” she wrote. “I have decided to further pursue my dream by declaring for the 2023 WNBA draft.”

Her decision comes after South Carolina’s undefeated season came to an end Friday night. Iowa star Caitlin Clark scored a record-breaking 41 points, leading the Hawkeyes to a 77-73 upset win in the Final Four.

Boston helped South Carolina win its second national title last season and is a three-time unanimous All-American.


Boston won the Wooden Award in 2022 and was a finalist again this season. She’s widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft April 10. The Indiana Fever hold the top pick.

Aliyah Boston (4) of the South Carolina Gamecocks shoots against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament Final Four at American Airlines Center March 31, 2023, in Dallas. 

Boston had the option of staying with the Gamecocks a fifth season because her 2019-29 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said she hadn’t yet decided about turning pro when reporters questioned her after the game against Iowa on Friday. But Boston made her decision with the blessing of head coach Dawn Staley.

South Carolina's Aliyah Boston holds up the championship trophy after defeating Tennessee 74-58 to win the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Greenville, S.C., March 5, 2023.

“I’m going to tell her to go,” Staley said Saturday. “There are defenses that are played against her that won’t allow her to play her game, and it’s hard to officiate that. So I would tell her to go. She’s great. She’s ready. She’s ready to see single coverage. She’s ready to make the next step to the league.”

Boston began playing for South Carolina in 2019. Two years prior to her joining the program, Staley led the Gamecocks to the first national title in the program’s history.

Boston’s collegiate resume tells a story of dominance. She anchored the team for four seasons. South Carolina appeared in three consecutive Final Fours with Boston handling the starting center duties.

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