The defending National Player of the Year spoke to Yahoo Sports WNBA writer Cassandra Negley about preparing for her final season in Columbia, looking ahead to the professional level and her relationship with USC alum A’ja Wilson.
Aliyah joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of Orangetheory Fitness, with whom she has teamed up to create the “‘Shot Clock’ Aliyah Boston Workout”. Find out more by visiting orangetheory.com.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: I'm Cassandra Negley here with Yahoo Sports. And we have national champion, reigning National Player of the Year, Most Outstanding Player in the final four, Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, with us. Aliyah, you're here to talk about a partnership with Orangetheory. But first, we want to ask about the upcoming season because college basketball is finally here. So what has the mood been like around South Carolina?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Yeah, I mean, it's just been-- we want to get it done. We want to get the job done again of being the last team standing. But practice have been going really well. I think we've definitely improved since coming back from summer workouts. And I'm just excited to get rolling. I can't believe the seasons already back.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: You guys have pretty much every starter back except for Destanni Henderson. There's so much chemistry, so much experience. You've said you've improved since summer. I mean, how is that helping your team prepare for the season?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Yeah, I think it's kind of just giving us another look. Henny was a big part of what we did, but I think a lot of people have stepped up. And we have Raven back. And then we have some great freshmen and a transfer with Key. And so it's just a lot of new pieces, and we're just working together. I'm really excited.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: You know, you go to South Carolina to win a title. And one of those people was A'ja Wilson. We've talked to her a few times. She loves singing your praises. She's so involved in the college. It's so much fun to watch. What is your relationship with her?
ALIYAH BOSTON: You know, she's always there, somebody you can always call anytime, text. And she'll always respond. It's just super cool to be able to communicate with her and seeing how close she still is with the program.
ALIYAH BOSTON: You want to make it to the WNBA. You're a potential lottery pick. Are you guys talking at all about that switch from college to pros and what it might take? Or are you strictly talking college right now?
ALIYAH BOSTON: I mean, right now, we're just focused on this season and not really thinking about what the next steps are. Yes, it'll always be a thought no matter what. But we're going to wait till the last second to really say anything.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: I have a few fun questions for you. You can go quick, you can go in depth, whatever you want to do. Are you ready?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Yep.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: All right, if you had a chance to design your own signature shoe, what is the top thing that you want on that shoe?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Definitely color. I want it to be bright, and I want it to pop because that's like me. I don't know. I do it with the hair, just kind of just be bright. Stewie has, on the back of her shoe, this water thing. I feel like yours could be your braids, like every color you've had in every big game.
ALIYAH BOSTON: That'd be cool. That's a great idea. Let me write that down.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: [LAUGHS] The WNBA is talking expansion. It does not have to make economical sense-- where would you love to play if they're putting a new team somewhere?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Oh, that's hard. I don't know. I feel like I'll just say anywhere just because I haven't gone to the WNBA yet. And so I don't really know what might be a good state or good city, so honestly, wherever they put it. If they want to put me there, too, like, sure, I'm there.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: What is a city that you would love to just play professional basketball in, then?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Oh, you're trying to get me caught up here.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: [LAUGHS] I'm really not.
ALIYAH BOSTON: You're not slick. I don't know. Honestly, I'm not hard to please. So anywhere's-- I'll find a way to make it good.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: What is the most fun thing about Dawn Staley as your head coach?
ALIYAH BOSTON: I'll just say her personality. She loves to dance, and she'll out dance anybody. So that's always a good thing. But she's just fun to be around as a player, knowing that you have this leader in front of you. But she's just great.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: So you've partnered with Orangetheory. You've created a custom workout. It's called the Aliyah Boston Shot Clock Workout. What went into making that?
ALIYAH BOSTON: Well, what went into making the workout was conscious things that I do in the offseason to get me prepared to have a successful season. So there are definitely some agility workouts, reactive things that are part of that workout, some medicine ball partner exercises, and definitely some core because core plays an important role with us on the court, so just things like that. I think it's super fun. I'm really thankful to Orangetheory for offering the NIL deal because it's great exposure for me and being able to do things that work with basketball, help me to get to where I want to be. And so I'm just really excited.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: Well, thanks for joining us and helping us kick off the start to the season. Finally, we're here.
ALIYAH BOSTON: Yes.