A’ja Wilson and USC women’s basketball head coach, Coach Staley talk about her transition to the WNBA.

A’ja Wilson, USC’s top women’s basketball player, holds her Naismith trophy. She also won the Wade Trophy, the USWBA award, and the AP Player of the award.

A’ja Wilson is presented with the Naismith trophy by Tammy Mochado, vice president of Citizen’s Watch Co., and executive director of the Atlanta Tip-Off Club, Eric Oberman.

A’ja Wilson thanks her fans at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia for their support.

Former USC basketball star A’ja Wilson was presented with her final award April 8 as a college athlete, the prestigious Citizen Naismith Trophy. Hundreds of people gathered at the Colonial Life Arena to celebrate her achievement.

Wilson won all of the National Player of the Year awards for 2018: the Wade Trophy, the AP Player of the Year award, the United States’ Basketball Writers’ Association award and the Naismith award. She is the first Gamecock to ever win the Naismith award, the 37th woman to win the award and one of eight women who have won the award multiple times (the high school Naismith award as well as the college Naismith award).

However, Wilson is much more than a star athlete.

“A’ja is the person who never turned down an autograph, a selfie, a high five,” USC President Harris Pastides said.

“Wow you never meet anybody with that type of character and does what she does on the court,” Citizen’s Watch Co. Vice President Tammy Machado said.

Wilson left a legacy at USC with her basketball skills and her character as well. She thanked her family, women’s head basketball coach Dawn Staley, the coaching staff and her supporters.

“I just can’t put into words how grateful and blessed I am to be apart of a great family like Gamecock nation,” Wilson said.

Staley says that her character will allow her to be the face of change for the WNBA.

“It takes more than just points and rebounds. You have to have a great personality, you have to be relatable and she has all those things that can take the league to the next level,” Staley said about A’ja transitioning  to the WNBA.

Wilson says the only thing that worries her about transitioning to the WNBA is playing for someone other than Staley.

However, Staley made a plan so that Wilson wouldn’t be too far away -at least in spirit. 

“We need an A’ja Wilson statue,” Staley said.

Staley has started to petition to get a statue of Wilson on campus. On April 12, Wilson was picked number one overall in the WNBA draft by the Las Vegas Aces.