Aliyah Boston (2001 – )

Aliyah Boston in South Carolina jersey
Aliyah Boston
Photograph by Chris Gillespie, courtesy Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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Aliyah Boston is a basketball player for the South Carolina Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina, who was named the 2022 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Player of the year and Defensive Player of the Year. Boston was born on December 22, 2001, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands of the United States, to Algernon and Cleone Boston. In her youth she attended Antilles School and became interested in basketball when she was nine. She played on the school team as the only girl, and the tallest player. In 2013, when Boston was twelve, she relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts with her sister Alexis, and lived with their aunt, Jenaire Hodge.

Both sisters had a love of basketball and intended to hone their craft for future endeavors. While her sister went to Holy Cross High School, and played the positions of guard and forward, Boston went to Worchester Academy, playing the positions of power forward, and center positions for the Hilltoppers.
Boston was the Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year for three years (2017, 2018, 2019), and the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class A Championship for two years (2018, 2019). She was selected to play in the McDonald’s All American Game, as well as the Jordan Brand Classic in 2019, and ranked 3rd in the ESPN HoopGurlz class that year.

The 5 star recruit graduated in 2019, and chose the University of South Carolina (Gamecocks), led by Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley. The first triple double posted by a freshman in program history and the first by any NCAA Division I player, came from Boston, in her first game against Alabama State. She also had a school record-tying 10 blocks, and by her February 2020 victory over the UConn Huskies, Boston captured her tenth double double of the season. On June 17, 2021, the Boston sisters met on the court for the first time as opponents, at the FIBA Americup quaterfinal game in Puerto Rico, with Aliyah playing for the USA, and her sister Alexis playing for the USVI.

By the end of the season, Boston was named Freshman of the Year, and she continued to dominate through her junior and sophomore years, leading the Gamecocks to win the national championship for the 2021-2022 season, finishing with 11 points, a team high of 16 rebounds and her 30th double double of the season. Boston was named the NCAA Tournament MOP, and while representing the US at various international competitions, she has won multiple gold medals, to include Youth Olympics and FIBA AmeriCup and World Cup. During her senior year, Boston was named both the Naismith College Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and landed her first sponsorship deal with Under Armor.

Throughout the pandemic, Boston launched a series in Instagram live called “Beyond Basketball’, where she interviewed former and current athletes and teammates, focusing on the racial and social injustices they suffered individually, on and off the court. In the summer of 2022, Boston held the first ever all female basketball camp, for fifty youth, on her home island of St. Thomas. She is expected to be the No.1 pick in the 2023 WNBA draft.