A’ja Wilson stood with her family sporting a walking boot on her right foot on the floor at Heathwood Hall gym.
Having them around is always special for the reigning SEC Player of the Year, but Friday night was even more special than most nights. Wilson was one of three former Heathwood Hall players to have their jerseys retired Friday night.
“This is amazing,” Wilson told reporters. “The last big moment for me in this gym was me committing (to South Carolina). To come back in and see everyone around, this is a great feeling for me. I’m surprised I didn’t cry. This is a great thing. Just to have your number retired is an honor, but just a great place like Heathwood is just amazing. I’m excited. I’m bubbly right now. A lot of feels going on.”
Wilson, a three-time SCISA Player of the Year, led the Lady Highlanders to the 2014 SCISA Class 3-A state championship. She also finished the 2013-14 season as a McDonald’s All-American, a Parade All-American, and the National High School Player of the year for three different organizations. For the Gamecocks star, seeing her jersey retired at her alma mater was surreal and something she couldn’t see happening during her days as a Highlander.
“Seventeen-year-old A’ja is probably like ‘What? Really? Why are they retiring your number? Of all numbers, why yours?’” Wilson said. “She was kind of stubborn and mean. She probably would have thought that, but at the same time, she would be just as happy as 21-year-old A’ja is now.”
Former Gamecock Brionna Dickerson and former UNC Asheville guard Corey Littlejohn also had their jerseys retired on Friday night as well.