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STUDENT ATHLETES ENDORSEMENTS

Aliyah Boston: Sound & Spirit

Entering the NCAA Tournament, the South Carolina star is tuning out the noise as one of three athletes to sign an NIL deal with Bose.

Aliyah Boston has a ton on her plate. With the help of Jade-Li English of Klutch Sports, she has signed deals with solar panel company ProSolar, worked on a custom shirzee deal with Under Armour, and inked a pact with Bojangles.

Now, she can add Bose to the fold.

The 20-year-old superstar is one of three new college basketball athletes partnering with the audio equipment leader — and the only woman athlete, as the others to join this NIL deal are Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren and Duke forward Wendell Moore.

Her ever-growing list of endorsements is perhaps only topped by the accolades she’s received for her on-court play. The junior is averaging 16.8 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game for a Gamecocks team that officially secured the NCAA Tournament’s top seed. They’ll play the winner of Howard and Incarnate Word in the First Round on Friday at home in Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC.

Boston is looking to be named the Lisa Leslie Award winner as the nation’s top big for the third-straight year after becoming the back-to-back winner of The Athletic’s National Player of the Year honor earlier this month. If that wasn’t enough, she’s the favorite to win the Wooden Award recognizing the nation’s top player alongside a super-elite group that includes Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.

Should Boston and South Carolina advance, a matchup against Clark’s Hawkeyes could be their last obstacle before the Final Four in Minneapolis.

As Boston gets ready to move through the tournament, Bose has provided its QuietComfort 45 noise-canceling headphones for her and her teammates. Let’s just say it’ll help tune out all the noise while competing for a championship.

This initiative is a continuation of Bose’s NIL deals with college football stars in December that included Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, and Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud.

A native of the US Virgin Islands, you can find Boston is listening to rappers such as Lil’ Baby and Gunna while mixing in gospel artists like Travis Greene.

“The noise-canceling headphones are where it’s at for me,” Boston said.

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Right now, Boston and South Carolina are in preparation mode — working out and getting their collective mind right for what they hope is a title run to add to their 2017 national championship.

The last time she stepped onto the court, things ended in disappointment. Kentucky outscored the Gamecocks 21-7 in the fourth quarter of the March 6 SEC Championship Game in Nashville, and a Dre’una Edwards 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left gave the Wildcats a 64-62 upset over the nation’s top-ranked team.

“We just come back and get ready to work,” Boston said of the Kentucky loss. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but we know there’s a bigger trophy ahead that we want.”

With the stakes far greater, South Carolina’s most recent NCAA Tournament game also ended in defeat, a 66-65 loss to Stanford in last season’s national semifinals. From that game, Boston learned to move on more easily from losses.

The Gamecocks exacted some revenge against the Cardinal on Dec. 21, getting 18 points and 11 rebounds out of Boston and overcoming an 18-point deficit for a 65-61 win. It was a battle between the top two ranked teams in the country at the time.

She has continued to work on her game and identify what aspects of it will help her team the most, like becoming more efficient on the floor and more patient around the basket. She’s leaned on head coach and Hall of Famer Dawn Staley, who she said has been through it all and can help regardless of the situation.

Off the court, there are other deals that haven’t been announced yet but will be soon, as the Worcester (Mass.) Academy product remains judicious with what, where, and to whom she attaches her name.

“You kind of know what you want to represent and what might be good or what might not be good,” she said.

What we know would be good is Boston’s chances of going first in next month’s WNBA Draft if she were eligible. But to be draft-eligible in the W, you need to be at least 22 years old and either have no college eligibility left or renounce that eligibility.

“Obviously we would probably wanna be in the league right away, but we can’t,” Boston said. “My mom’s probably happy because I get to graduate and make sure I get my degree before I walk out of college. So that’s definitely a priority.”

Although she’d like to believe that she would’ve been ready to enter the WNBA Draft after her first college season, Boston said she probably would not have been ready. Even in her third season, Boston said she’s needed these extra years to hone her development. Since that Stanford loss in the 2021 tournament, she said her development has come in the form of a more consistent outside game, improved aggressiveness, the ability to better put the ball on the floor, and improved physicality.

As the Gamecocks enter the big dance, the best player in America shouted out teammates such as guard Zia Cooke, guard Destanni Henderson, guard Brea Beal, forward Victaria Saxton, and guard Bree Hall. Boston encouraged fans to look out for the Gamecocks’ bench depth as well as its versatility from its guards and post players.

“Every single player that steps on the floor for South Carolina — every single one of us is where it’s at,” she said.

Boston said she’s thought about bringing a championship back to Columbia ever since she committed to Staley and the Gamecocks.

She knows this is the year they can do it.

“We need to continue to improve on taking care of the ball and making sure that we execute,” Boston said. “I don’t think anything is holding us back from winning a national championship.”

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