Aliyah Boston is ready to cement her legacy as a generational talent


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Aliyah Boston has broken so many records over her college career that it was really no surprise when she made headlines yet again. This time, she broke a University of South Carolina record that had been cemented in the program’s history for over 40 years. Over a college career that lasted from 1978-1982, Sheila Foster recorded 72 double-doubles, highlighting a stellar career that inspired the program to retire her jersey. Boston’s senior season is not even over yet, but after her fifth straight double-double in the Gamecocks’ win over Arkansas, that record is now hers. With 73 career double-doubles, Boston does not only lead her program, but she also ranks third all-time in SEC history, trailing only Sylvia Fowles and Janet Harris. While Fowles’ record is still far off with 86 double-doubles, Boston is very well in reach of either tying or surpassing Harris’ 78 double-doubles.

Holding over 20 different records all across the board of career, single season and single game categories, Boston is making her case to go down as one of the greatest players in South Carolina’s history and beyond. Boston is not only one of the Gamecocks’ best players, but also one of the most accomplished women’s college basketball players of her generation. So far, she has won an NCAA championship, is the reigning National Player of the Year, won the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award, was named the SEC Player of the Year, won three Lisa Leslie awards, was named to the All-American First Team twice, and won three SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards and a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. For a twenty-year-old, that is quite the resume, and it doesn’t even include her accomplishments with Team USA. On the international stage, Boston won five gold medals and was the only college player invited to Team USA’s training camp for the 2022 FIBA World Cup.

So how could Boston possibly add to all that? She has already broken record after record and won every award imaginable. A second NCAA championship, for one, would set her apart from other college greats, even University of South Carolina legend A’ja Wilson, a player Boston is frequently compared to. Both of them have similar college resumes so far and similar styles of play, but the main reason why people can’t stop comparing the two is that they are both winners who have helped South Carolina maintain national prominence. While Wilson is already making a name as one of the greatest WNBA players of her generation, Boston still has some time left to add to her collegiate achievements, and a second consecutive National Player of the Year award is not entirely out of reach for her. Her numbers are not as great as last season, and she struggled a little in the first handful of games, but there are reasons for that. First of all, defenses now send multiple defenders to guard Boston, and she’s had to adjust to that. Secondly, she now has a better support system around her and other players, such as Zia Cooke, are now carrying some of the load that fell solely on Boston last season. As a result, she is also playing fewer minutes. Nevertheless, her efficiency has actually gone up. Boston is now shooting 59.3 percent from the field and creating plenty of opportunities for her teammates due to the defensive attention she draws to herself. The competition for the Player of the Year award is tough this year with players like Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, and Aneesah Morrow, among others, making incredibly strong cases. If the Gamecocks keep winning like they have been so far, however, Boston still has the chance to be the best player on the best team, which would give her an edge to claim the award for the second straight year.

Boston is poised to further cement her basketball legacy once she enters the WNBA. Due to Covid-19 rules, Boston is eligible to return to college for a fifth season, but if she enters the draft this year, she could be the number one pick. The Indiana Fever hold this year’s first overall pick. They are a young rebuilding team, featuring great talent from last year’s draft in NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo. The Fever had a terrible season, however, finishing with a 5-31 record, and are in need of additional centerpieces for their rebuild. As a tall, skilled two-way player, Boston would make a great choice. During the Gamecocks’ title run, Boston proved that she could anchor an elite defense. She is a great defensive rebounder and rim protector in half-court defense as well as in transition, but she is also switchable enough to defend on the perimeter if asked to. On offense, she is just as versatile. With clean footwork, Boston can operate in the paint and finish through contact, and to add to that she also has a smooth mid-range jumper as well as the ability to hit the occasional open three. Boston is not necessarily a ball handler and benefits from playing with good passers, but she can also successfully create her own shot.

Out of her class, Boston is the player most ready to take her game to the professional level. At the same time, however, she is also still young and has plenty of time to grow her game. So, as Boston’s career progresses and hopefully moves to the next level, she should still have plenty of surprises up her sleeve.