Las Vegas Aces forward-center A’ja Wilson was the No. 1 overall pick of WNBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm after her standout career at the University of South Carolina, where she was a four-time All-America selection, three-time SEC Player of the Year and the 2017-18 consensus National Player of the Year and won the first National Championship in South Carolina womens basketball history under the direction of Hall of Famer Dawn Staley.
Wilson didnt lose a step when she got to the league, despite joining a Las Vegas team destined to finish last in the Western Conference. In the franchises first year after relocating from San Antonio, the team struggled to a 14-19 record with a roster full of young players — nine of which have three years of experience or less.
A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces Rookie Sensation: Watch Her Top Plays So Far! Get Your WNBA Tickets Here!: http://www.wnba.com/tickets/
All of that winning at South Carolina didnt prepare her for the losing shed be doing this WNBA season.
The easiest thing was getting on a plane and moving out here, Wilson said Wednesday. The rest has been pretty tough.
Still, none of those team setbacks stopped Wilson who was unanimously selected the 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the league announced on Sunday. It was a clean sweep — similar to her Wooden Award last year — as she received all 39 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
A’ja Wilson is the 2018 Rookie of the Year, by unanimous vote! Wilson swept the Rookie of the Month awards in her first WNBA season and made her first All-Star appearance as well. #WNBA #ROY #WNBAFinals https://t.co/PoWibNSX3g
Wilson led all rookies in scoring (20.7 ppg), becoming the second rookie in WNBA history to average at least 20.0 points per game, joining Seimone Augustus(21.9 ppg in 2006). She also averaged 8.0 rebounds and 1.67 blocked shots while starting every game that the Aces played and made the All-Star squad.
Uploaded by Musix Mattaz on 2018-07-27.
The 6-4 Wilson shot a rookie-best 46.2 percent from the field and made 77.4 percent from the free throw line. She also set WNBA rookie records for free throws made (192) and attempted (248) in a season, following her former Gamecocks teammate Allisha Gray of the Dallas Wings as the second consecutive South Carolina alum to win WNBA Rookie of the Year.
Wilson scored in double figures in every appearance. She recorded 30 or more points three times, highlighted by a career-high 35 points against the Indiana Fever on June 12. She also registered 10 point-rebound double-doubles, including 25 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to go with six assists against the Seattle Storm on June 19.
Thank you everyone for the support it’s been one helluva rookie year we are just getting started #MuchLove #AW22
Having bum-rushed the WNBA and flexed her undeniable skills, Wilsons next mission is making the USA Basketball Womens National Team at the 2018 FIBA Womens Basketball World Cup.
While Wilson is attempting to make the USAs official roster for the World Cup, the U.S. women will be attempting to win a third-straight World Cup gold medal from Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
2018 @WNBA Rookie of the Year @_ajawilson22 of the @LVAces setting sights on #USABWNT spot for @FIBA World Cup. https://t.co/Yjwg3Nyks6
I traveled around the world with the younger USA teams, said Wilson, who was the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 2015. To make this USA World Cup team, its special just to have the opportunity to represent your country against the best of the best.
Wilson previously led the USA U19 World Cup Team to a gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Cup in Chekhov, Russia, and a gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Cup in Lithuania, so shes no stranger to leading her country to victory in international play.