A'ja Wilson sets date for college announcement

GoGamecocks.comMarch 27, 2014 

Heathwood Hall's A'ja Wilson Shoots a free throw.

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com Buy Photo

A’ja Wilson has set the date.

The nation’s No. 1-ranked player, McDonald’s All-American and National Player of the Year Tweeted on Thursday that she will settle her college decision on April 16, the first day of the spring signing period. Wilson confirmed the news by phone later on Thursday.

“It’s the first day of the signing period, so I don’t feel like I need to wait through the end of it,” Wilson said. “It gives me time to see the teams play through March Madness, because all of those four are still in the Sweet 16. It really gives me a chance to see them all play in the situation, because that’s where I want to be next year – in the Sweet 16 with one of those four teams.”

Wilson’s four finalists are UConn, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Gamecocks and Tar Heels play each other on Sunday in the Stanford Regional, and the regional winner will likely play the top-ranked Huskies in the Final Four. The Lady Volunteers are on the other side of the bracket and may have to face Louisville on the Cardinals’ home court to get to the Final Four.

Wilson does not have a favorite or an idea which school she will pick and didn’t get to attend any games over the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. Should one or some of those four teams advance to the Final Four in Nashville, perhaps she’ll get to go watch them.

“It’s still wide-open among the four,” she said. “All four teams are playing great right now. That’s what I love to see.”

Wilson is on spring break and is preparing for a trip to Chicago for the McDonald’s All-American game. The game will be played on April 2 but the week actually begins on Saturday. Wilson will be surrounded by the elite prep players from the country, all of whom have already made their college decisions, and knows she’ll hear about her “undecided” status.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a huge problem,” she said. “We kind of knew that when we were playing for Team USA, so it’s kind of the same for this. We’re on the same team, not even thinking of college right now. I’m pretty sure some might crack jokes, saying, ‘Come on, what’s up?’” Of Wilson’s East teammates, two have signed with USC, one with UConn and one with Tennessee. The West team features one UConn signee and one Tennessee signee.

The process has been long but only lasts for a few more days. Wilson has been finishing her senior year at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and relishing in the one bauble she didn’t have in a star-studded career – a state championship, helped by when she hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the championship game to overtime.

“God put the ball in the basket,” Wilson laughed. “I knew when I threw it up there, all I could hear was the buzzer going off, and I thought it was the third quarter. When I looked up, we were going into overtime.”

Wilson took over the extra period and the Lady Highlanders finally claimed their elusive prize. She ended her career with a win, is looking for another in Chicago, and then will have one of four colleges celebrating a win on April 16.

The ceremony will be held at Heathwood Hall. Details will be announced at a later date.

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