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Aliyah Boston looking to build off ROY season with Team USA opportunity

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Fever star Aliyah Boston was the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year, and she’s hoping to earn a spot on Team USA for the 2024 Olympics.

When Indiana Fever center Aliyah Boston was named the unanimous 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year, she joined some exclusive company. The only other players to have won ROY in unanimous fashion have been Candace Parker, Tina Charles, A’ja Wilson and Elena Delle Donne.

In the months leading up to the 2023 WNBA Draft, the general consensus was that she was the clear cut No. 1 pick. As soon as Aliyah Boston hit the WNBA hardwood with the Fever, she showed exactly why she was given the label as a franchise difference-maker.

In her first game as a pro, Boston put up 15 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot albeit fouling out. That was just a sign of things to come. Although the Fever struggled to get wins this past season, it was clear they had the piece for a solid foundation with Boston patrolling the paint.

“It was very successful. I think as a team we grew together on the court and off the court,” Boston told ClutchPoints. “I was able to get some of my goals accomplished. Winning Rookie of the Year is just super exciting. I’m just thankful to God for the opportunity.”

The WNBA season may be over, but the journey doesn’t stop for Aliyah Boston in the offseason. She was recently named to the training camp roster for Team USA as they begin their selection process for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

Boston took part alongside several other WNBA players in a week long training camp held in Atlanta, GA from Nov. 7-9. The camp also included a scrimmages against the Tennessee women’s basketball team and Duke’s women’s basketball team. The players that were invited to the camp will make up the potential selection pool for the Olympic roster. It’s an honor that Boston admits has been a major goal of hers.

“It’s really amazing. It’s really special to be here and to be surrounded by these women and to even be in the pool to be considered for the Olympics” Boston said. “I’m really excited. This a goal of mine that I’ve had for a while, just to make the Olympic team and to be able to bring home the gold, God willing. So I’m just super excited just for the opportunity.”

Boston was the youngest player to take part in the camp and the only WNBA rookie. She was also one of only two centers to participate, the other being Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner. Griner has been a part of two Olympic teams in 2016 and 2020 as well as two FIBA World Cup teams in 2014 and 2018. Not to mention she’s been one of the best centers in the WNBA for the past decade.

So who better than Griner for Boston to learn from when it comes to playing in the post. After practice during training camp, Boston was often seen picking the brain of Griner and working out with her one-on-one both offensively and defensively.

“Just some great post stuff and work stuff, different moves,” Boston said. “I’m really excited that she was able to drop some knowledge for me.”

In today’s game where versatile centers and bigs are becoming the norm and more traditional centers are few and far between, Aliyah Boston is a throwback to the days of old. She plays with her back to the basket and as efficient as they come getting buckets in the paint.

That’s not to say that she can’t play a versatile role; she stepped out and showed three-point range this past season at times. But she’s tough to guard in the post. Aliyah Boston played in all 40 games for the Fever and she averaged 14.5 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocked shots with shooting splits of 57.8 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 74.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Boston chalks up her dominance in the paint as simply knowing what she does best.

“Just being great at your craft, I think that’s the most important thing. Everyone has something they’re really good at,” Boston said. “Yes there are posts that step out and do a lot of stuff but sometimes you just continue to be great, continue to perfect your craft, and then being able to adjust. What I’m going for is just continuing to be dominant in the post but also not be afraid to step out, shoot the jumpers, twos or threes, and just be confident.”

With Team USA camp over for now and WNBA training camps not starting until April 2024, Aliyah Boston has time off before she prepares for her second season with the Fever. But the work will still continue. While she has some personal plans for the offseason, she intends to get right back to work.

“Just a lot of training, definitely a lot of training,” Boston said. “I’m probably going to be traveling a little bit, but definitely getting to work and working on my craft.”

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