South Carolina installs statue of Gamecocks great A'ja Wilson

South Carolina has installed a statue of former Gamecocks All-American A'ja Wilson in front of Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.

Wilson, the 2018 consensus national player of the year and No. 1 WNBA draft pick, will take part in a dedication ceremony Monday.

Wilson, who is from Hopkins, South Carolina, just outside of Columbia, helped lead the program to its first national championship in 2017, its first Women's Final Four in 2015, four SEC tournament titles and three SEC regular-season titles.

She received first-team All-American honors three times and was the first three-time SEC Player of the Year in league history. She was on the SEC first team four times.

"A'ja Wilson's accomplishments, on and off the basketball court, make this statue so deserving," South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said. "I am delighted that we can celebrate her in this manner."

Wilson was the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2018 for the Las Vegas Aces. She led the Aces to the WNBA Finals last season, when she was named the league's MVP.

The 11-foot-tall bronze statue was made possible by private donations from the late Dodie Anderson, recording artist and South Carolina native Darius Rucker and women's basketball coach Dawn Staley. It is one of three statues on South Carolina's campus that represents a specific individual; the others are of 1980 Heisman Trophy-winning running back George Rogers and Richard T. Greener, the first Black faculty member at the school.

"A'ja was a powerful force in our program, our campus and our community through everything that she accomplished on the court and the person she was off it," Staley said. "This statue in front of this arena is an equally powerful force. Every young person, and especially young black girls, can see what is possible through hard work, passion and dedication."