South Carolina senior forward A’ja Wilson was named Associated Press National Player of the Year, the media organization announced today after a vote of selected writers from across the country. Wilson’s unprecedented career with the Gamecocks culminated in her becoming the first in program history to capture national player of the year honors from multiple organizations.
In expanding her game every season at South Carolina, Wilson capped her career with her best statistical season. Ranked seventh in the nation in scoring (22.6 ppg), 11th in rebounding (11.8 rpg) and fifth in blocks (3.2 bpg), she is the only player in the country ranked in the top 35 of all three categories. Only seven players are among the nation’s top 50 in scoring and rebounding.
Wilson built her averages on steady play throughout the season, scoring in double figures in 32 of her 33 games this season, including 24 double-doubles to rank second in program history in single-season double-doubles. Her 21 20-point games this season are one shy of the program’s single-season record and account for nearly half of her career 47 such games. This season, she averaged 21.7 points and 12.6 rebounds against ranked opponents, including 23.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in five outings against top-10 foes.
This season, Wilson became the first three-time SEC Player of the Year in league history and the Gamecocks’ first four-time SEC First-Team selection and first four-time All-American, including first-team honors in each of the past three seasons. She became just the 13th player in SEC history to amass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career and the first Gamecock to do it in the SEC era.
Wilson is the sixth SEC player to be named AP National Player of the Year, joining Katrina McClain (Georgia, 1987), Saudia Roundtree (Georgia, 1996), Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee, 1998 and 1999), Tamika Catchings (Tennessee, 2000) and Seimone Augusts (LSU, 2005 and 2006).
Wilson helped South Carolina to three of its four SEC regular-season championships and all of its league-record four consecutive SEC Tournament titles. She played a key role in both NCAA Final Four appearances and was the Most Outstanding Player in the Gamecocks’ 2017 NCAA National Championship.