Aliyah Boston declares for WNBA Draft day after South Carolina's Final Four exit

South Carolina's Aliyah Boston announced on Saturday that she's declaring for the WNBA draft.

Boston made her announcement on Twitter, where she thanked her teammates, family, fans and coaching staff while calling her decision to attend South Carolina "the best, first decision of my life."

"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.”

The senior center made her announcement a day after South Carolina lost to Iowa in the Final Four. The three-time unanimous All-American and 2022 consensus National Player of the Year is projected as the No. 1 pick in the draft.

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Boston had the option of returning for a fifth season with extra eligibility granted to players whose 2019-2020 seasons were shortened by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The availability of NIL opportunities has prompted some players who might otherwise turn pro to remain in college, but the allure of being the likely No. 1 pick in the draft won out for Boston.

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 25: Aliyah Boston #4 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks on during the first half against the UCLA Bruins in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 25, 2023 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Aliyah Boston is leaving South Carolina for the WNBA. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston said Saturday night that she hadn't yet decided about turning pro. She ultimately made her decision with the blessing of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.

"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 joined South Carolina in 2019, two years after Staley coached the Gamecocks to the program's first national championship. She anchored the South Carolina lineup for four seasons as the program rose to arguably the most dominant in the game. South Carolina's made three consecutive Final Fours with Boston starting at center and won the 2022 national championship. She was the Final Four's Most Outstanding player during the run to the title.

Boston followed up her 2022 National Player of the Year campaign with her third straight unanimous Associated Press All-America honor. A force on both ends of the court projected as a difference-maker in the post in the WNBA, she averaged 14.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and one steal while shooting 54.6% over the course of her college career.

The Indiana Fever have the No. 1 pick in the draft that will take place on April 10.