A’ja Wilson Gets Real About Getting Thrown to the Bench by Dawn Staley in Her First Game: “I Stuck It Up”

Published 12/15/2023, 1:23 AM EST

Follow Us

via Getty

A’ja Wilson is often regarded as the finest player to emerge from South Carolina. The Las Vegas Aces forward even believes her home state produces better basketball players than its northern rival. While it didn’t stop her from selecting UNC throughout the recruiting process, it was South Carolina’s head coach that drove her decision to prefer USC over all other factors. The pact was never a pushover despite Wilson and coach Dawn Staley being a wonderful combo to be cherished.

America’s Favorite Video Today

Staley has shown her support for her former player as she became a huge star in the WNBA. Furthermore, Staley is the only college coach who has established herself as a mainstay on the WNBA sidelines. This reputation doesn’t come without some unpopular decisions.

When Coach Staley benched A’ja Wilson

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

A’ja Wilson’s transformation into a basketball player has now required a benching. During her rookie year at South Carolina in 2014, the WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player caught the attention of her Hall of Fame coach, who wasn’t happy with what she was witnessing.

&
nbsp;

A’ja Wilson had incredible records on her high school chart when she entered as a freshman at USC but happened to be benched in her second game. She was the number one recruit but her first game of the NCAA wasn’t her level and resulted in a benching.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

In a recent interview with the Smokes episode, A’ja Wilson shared this historic benching of hers. Anchors asked her a question about whether she was pissed off or whether she deserved to be on the sidelines in her second game, to which A’ja Wilson graciously answered that she deserved it. She then went on to justify her answer: “I stuck it up my first time. My first collegiate game was so bad, so horrific. So I was like, the bench is for me Let me try it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Dawn’s influence on Wilson

Arguably, A’ja Wilson has emerged as the WNBA’s top player. She scored a career-high 53 points against the Atlanta Dream for her team. For the most points in a single WNBA game, she was tied with Liz Cambage.

The groundwork for her ascent to fame was laid when Wilson was playing collegiate basketball for Dawn Staley at South Carolina.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Watch This Story: “Whatever Drake Said”: Months After the Canadian Rapper Slid in Her DMs, Angel Reese Reminisces His Lyrics in the Latest Feat

Mentioning Staley’s influence on her basketball career, Wilson went on to explain that Coach Dawn challenged her to go beyond simply fitting in with her peers. The coach who recognized the grandeur within her urged the Ace to fulfill her greatest potential.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Nima Murugan

403Articles

One take at a time

“Basketball isn’t an act of jumping jacks, it’s a sport mirroring life through assists and rebounds”. Before becoming an NBA writer at EssentiallySports, I was drawn to the world of basketball when 'The Chosen One' first started locking horns with 'His Airness' over the GOAT debate. Some discourses shape your imagination and rightly so.
Show More>

Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today