Aliyah Boston was drafted No. 1 in the 2023 WNBA Draft, officially closing her collegiate career and beginning her professional chapter.
“It’s really special; I think a lot of people know my story, but my parents made a big sacrifice allowing my sister and I to move away from home at the age of 12 and 14 and so to be able to see their hard work payoff is a blessing from God.”
Those were Boston’s first words to Howe Rowe after being drafted by the Indiana Fever. The odds of ever making a WNBA roster are long, but Boston defied those odds and is now the face of a WNBA franchise.
Hailing from the Virgin Islands, Boston’s parents sacrificed to send her and her sister Alexis to live with their aunt in New England in search of more opportunities and a better life. Quickly, Boston made her impact known on the basketball court and accomplished everything one could imagine at Worcester Academy. She was a McDonald’s All-American, earned Massachusetts Player of the Year honors from Gatorade in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was ranked as the No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2019. When the time came to select a college South Carolina was her clear choice.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a resume better than Boston’s as a Gamecock. She was named an AP All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year each year, won the national title in 2022 and is considered the “Most decorated player in program history,” according to the South Carolina Gamecocks website. Falling short of a perfect season and NCAA title after losing to Iowa in an instant classic in the Final Four, it was clear there were no more challenges or tests for Boston at the collegiate level. She still had a year of eligibility left but opted to enter the draft and will now be the franchise player for the Fever.
So what should Indiana expect from Boston?
In college, there weren’t many holes in Boston’s game, offensively or defensively. She was an elite rim protector, defended the pick and roll well and cleaned up the glass. Offensively her post presence and footwork were unmatched. Anytime she touched the ball in the paint, multiple defenders would collapse and try to help. She rarely ever saw single coverage. Her court vision and playmaking with the ball in her hands can’t be taught. She understands flow and feel at a level so high that it seems instinctual.
Drafting her No. 1 was a no-brainer decision. Her presence on the roster immediately improves a team that went 5-31 and finished dead last in the W.
“I’ve watched every interview she’s done, I’ve watched her in practice with her teammates, I’ve watched her in games, with her coaches. She’s the full package.” Fever head coach Christie Sides said on a Behind The Scenes video.
The WNBA is another level and competition will be fierce, but one thing Boston has proven is no challenge is too daunting and no obstacle is beyond her ability to overcome it. Her first WNBA game against the Connecticut Sun on May 19 has now become must-see TV as it will be our first glimpse at the Aliyah era in Indiana.