Top prospect A’ja Wilson talks recruitment, possible decision date

dcloninger@thestate.comFebruary 11, 2014 

No one expected a decision, so there was no surprise when there wasn’t one.

But the time when she makes it is steadily drawing closer.

“I’ll take some time to wind down,” top national recruit A’ja Wilson said last week. “It pretty much depends on how we do in the playoffs. Really just taking some time, to talk with my parents more. They know it’s my decision, but still, it’s great to have them by my side.”

Wilson finished her fourth and final official visit nine days ago and then got back to the pressing business of trying to win a state championship. Heathwood Hall is about to finish its regular season and start the playoffs, giving Wilson another crack at the elusive title.

It’s been a constant mania for the senior – becoming the top player in the class, watching the country’s other top commitments (and some of her close friends) commit already, playing for Team USA, being named a McDonald’s All-American – but Wilson keeps plowing ahead with her main goal. She continues to score, rebound, block shots and do whatever else needs to be done to keep the Lady Highlanders focused on their march to the championship.

After that comes the time when she will sit down and decide which of her final four suitors will win her hand – Connecticut, North Carolina, Tennessee or South Carolina. Wilson will not make any decision until the Highlanders’ season is over – the SCISA state championships are set for March 1 – and may not make a decision until the first day of the spring signing period (April 16).

“It could be possible,” Wilson said. “It’s really what the Lord says to me and how I feel about it. Really just take a step back, take a look at the big picture and also at the little picture. Talk with my coach and my parents and look at everything, making sure that this decision that I’m making in the spring is the right decision for me and my family.”

Wilson’s final official visit was to USC on Feb. 1-3. It was a chance for her to see the other parts of the campus and student life instead of strictly the arenas and stadiums she’d attended on other unofficial visits.

“I went to class at UConn, but seeing the total student life at USC was just really eye-opening,” Wilson said. “I went to psychology class, because that’s what I want to major in. I went there with Tina Roy. It was a lot of fun.”

Wilson also met with an academic advisor and a psychology professor. She spoke to football coach Steve Spurrier and athletic director Ray Tanner, and naturally heard the Colonial Life Arena crowd chant her name during USC’s win over Missouri on Feb. 2.

“I heard ‘We Want A’ja!’ at Tennessee, but it was eye-opening there and also here,” Wilson said. “I was speechless. I don’t know what to say when I hear and see stuff like that. Everybody was pointing at it, making sure I saw it. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.”

The rest of the visit was spent visiting with the team and coach Dawn Staley, attending a Super Bowl party and touring dorms and other campus sites. Like her other three visits, to the other three finalists, USC presented a lot to think about.

The pros and cons of each are on a list at Wilson’s home, and in her mind. All of them are in the back of the pecking order until the season is over, and also after she takes time to be a high-school senior.

“I do want to go to prom this year, because I didn’t go last year,” Wilson said. “Hanging out with my friends, my grandma. I haven’t seen her for a week. I want to sit down and talk with her – we also talk about recruiting.”

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