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South Carolina's Premier Girls' Basketball Team

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Welcome

Welcome to the Palmetto 76ers girls' basketball team web site.

 

As part of the GA/LINA Lady 76ers basketball club organization, we are traveling girls’ AAU basketball teams that offer young female athletes of various ages the opportunity to play basketball at a highly competitive level around the country. 

 

For more information about our team, our mission, and history; please see “About Us”.

 

Contact Information

Palmetto 76ers

P.O. Box 1724

Columbia, SC 29202

Jerome Dickerson


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Current NewsCurrent News
Heathwood’s Wilson & Team USA U19 are golden

August 2, 2013 - USA Basketball via ColumbiaStar.com - Read the Full Story HERE

 

Aj'a Wilson - USA U19 TeamWilson led the team in scoring twice. She scored 20 points against the Netherlands in the second round. Then, in the quarterfinals, she finished with 19 points for Team USA in a 108-67 victory over Japan. She also had 11 rebounds in that game.

Team USA beat Australia 77-54 in the semifinals

July 27. Wilson finished with four points, one rebound, one assist, and one block in eight minutes of action.

Aj'a Wilson - USA U19 TeamIn the gold medal final, Team USA led France 27-20 at halftime and then held France to eight points in the second half. Wilson finished with four points, a steal, and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

Breanna Stewart (Connecticut, North Syracuse, N.Y.) led Team USA. She averaged 16.9 points per game, and her 152 total points set a new USA U19 scoring record. She also has the highest 3-point shooting percentage in USA U19 history at 58.3 percent. Stewart was named the tournament MVP.

Wilson’s 71 rebounds lists her at No. 3 all-time for USA U19. Her 15 blocked shots ties her with Stewart’s 15 in 2011 for the No. 3 spot.

- Source USA Basketball

 


Heathwood Hall’s A’ja Wilson wins gold medal with Team USA U-19 women’s basketball squad

July 30, 2013 - By DAVID CLONINGER — dcloninger(at)thestate.com

 

Read the Full Story HERE

 

The cross-country journey, estimated at 14 hours, was exhausting, which is why A’ja Wilson felt no need to explain why she slept until nearly noon on Tuesday.

The jet lag and the normal aches from playing nine basketball games in 11 days were worth it.

“When I came out of the final game, coach (Katie) Meier hugged me and said, ‘Great minutes, great minutes,’ ” Wilson said Tuesday. “After that hug, I just felt incredible, that I was going to be a gold medal winner. That’s something I’ve dreamed of, and being 16, that’s just amazing.”

 

Wilson, a rising senior at Heathwood Hall and the nation’s No. 1 recruit for the next cycle, had that gold medal in her bag as she came off the plane.

 

Taking the bait for a second when father Roscoe Wilson jokingly asked what time they were going to work out on Tuesday, Wilson got home around 9 p.m. on Monday, grabbed a quick bite and went to visit her grandmother. By the time she got back home, her bed was calling louder than the various recruiting services that have trumpeted her name for the past two years.

“I am very jet-lagged,” she said. “Seemed like we were traveling back in time. I can’t sleep very well on planes.”

Now, she can recover, reflect and prepare for the next nine months. Wilson turns 17 on Aug. 8, starts her senior year of high school on Aug. 21 and begins her senior season in November. From there until May, she’ll try to balance being the same teammate who has scored 2,170 career points and won back-to-back SCISA Player of the Year awards, being a normal teenager and being one of the nation’s most coveted recruits.


Naturally, the latter is what many will want to know about every day during the nine months, but Wilson has a quick answer — undecided.

 

Aj'a Wilson - Heathwood Hall

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez(at)thestate.com

“I’m going to wait until May to commit,” Wilson said. “July and June were supposed to be my months, and being on Team USA kind of pushed everything back from me. I’ll think about my visits later. I have no favorites.”


Wilson was one of six high school players on Team USA’s U-19 entry in the FIBA World Championships, and one of three who hasn’t decided where they will attend college. Combining with a who’s who of college talent — such as tournament MVP Breanna Stewart, who had two of her Connecticut teammates on the roster with her — Team USA went 9-0 in international competition and won its fifth consecutive gold medal.

Wilson was third on the team with 10.9 points per game, led the team with a average of 7.9 rebounds and also was first with 15 blocked shots. She had nine steals through the tournament while averaging 16.6 minutes per game.

The team struggled once, in a 69-63 win against France just before the medal round.

“We had a lead, but we kind of laid back, and they came back and almost won,” Wilson said. “We knew we couldn’t let that happen again.”

Meeting France again in the gold medal game, Meier and her staff adjusted. Taking advantage of Wilson’s 6-foot-4 frame, which matched Stewart’s, Team USA threw those two and 6-6 Candice Agee at France’s inside attack. The result — a 21.7 field-goal percentage and 28 points for France.

“Those teams weren’t that bad, it’s just that the USA was so good,” Roscoe Wilson said. “Coach Meier, coach (Nikki) Caldwell and coach (Kelly) Graves, and the rest of the support staff, they handled this so professionally. I was just so impressed by the whole thing.”

His daughter agreed.

“I thought they were pretty good,” A’ja Wilson said. “We were just a lot better. From training camp, we worked so hard, everything was just hard, hard, hard. When the games came, it wasn’t easy, but we just played our own game.”

Pleased with her play during the tournament, and proud to be able to see a gold medal gleaming from her wall, Wilson will relax for the next few days, perhaps catch a couple of S.C. Pro Am games, then get ready for school. She won’t pick up a basketball for a while — maybe as long as two or three days.

The next nine months don’t frighten or put any pressure on her because she’s been prepared for it. She plans to approach it with the same system as before — level-headed, calm, not getting too excited one day, because the next day could be better.

“I’m just going to catch up with my teammates and friends and family, and relax,” she said. “Get away from the gym, just relax. I’m just going to take it piece-by-piece, month-by-month.”


A’ja Wilson Named to 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team!

Aj'a Wilson - USA U19 TeamA’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S/Hopkins, S.C.)

 

Click on links below:

 

Talented 12-Member 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team Announced (usabasketball.com) - Click for Story Here

 

Top-Rated Wilson Never Satisfied, Continues To Work On Her Game

By Rich Elliott (ctnews.com) - Click for Story Here

 

UCONN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Top recruit A'ja Wilson had humble start

By Jim Fuller (nhregister.com) - Click for Story Here

 

WLTX.com - Video

 

Aj'a Wilson - USA U19 TeamQuotes from A'ja:
 

What kind of emotions were you feeling when you heard your name called as one of the USA U19 World Championship Team members?
Oh my gosh! It was a great feeling. At first I was shocked, to tell the truth because this weekend I felt that I had the roughest time. I did not feel that I played really well. But, when my name was called and my named being Wilson, it was the last name. I was just like, ‘uh oh.’ And then finally she said A’ja Wilson, and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is such an honor.’ I’m really excited.

What do you think stood out to the committee this weekend, what do you bring to the team?
I guess, me being so young, I kind of bring the energy sometimes. I’m not saying that everybody else is old, but I guess I can bring the energy. We have height, of course, and then we also have versatility. I think I also bring those things to the team, and being a good teammate.

What does it mean for you to be able to represent your country?
It means a lot. It really does. I’ve watched these girls on TV. I’ve gone to some of their games, and just to play with them, it means a lot. Playing the sport that I love and playing for the country that I love, it’s just a great feeling to have.

Are you excited about learning from the coaching staff and the rest of your teammates?
Definitely I am. I’m very excited.


Palmetto 76ers Ranked Nationally by ESPNW

Three of the Palmetto 76ers are currently ranked nationally by ESPNW, see link below:

http://espn.go.com/high-school/girls-basketball/recruiting/rankings/_/class/2014

 

A'ja Wilson (1)
Kaydra Duckett (19)
Makayla Johnson (48)


Heightened interest in top prospect A’ja Wilson

Jan 17, 2013 - By Harold GutmannSpecial to espnW - Read the Full Story HERE

 

Until recently, A'ja Wilson was the size of an average guard.

So before every practice with her AAU team, she would work on ballhandling. When she played with her dad on the basket outside their house, he would stress dribbling.

Then, during the second semester of her freshman year, Wilson suddenly sprouted up.

"When I finally hit my growth spurt, I didn't quite notice it until I went to a friend's house," said Wilson, a junior at Heathwood Hall (Columbia, S.C.). "[Kaydra Duckett] is like a sister to me, and looking back on pictures we used to be the same height. Now when we take pictures it's like, 'What happened?' "

After growing 4 inches during that spurt to reach 6-foot-4, the Hopkins, S.C., resident still has the skills of a small guard and the athleticism that allowed her to finish third in the state in the 100-meter dash -- as an eighth-grader. But she now also has the height to battle in the post and to dunk a basketball.

That versatility makes Wilson the No. 1 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Super 60 for the 2014 class and one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.

Heathwood Hall coach John O'Cain says there have been three or four college coaches at each of her games this season, and pretty much every school east of the Mississippi River has seen her play at some point. So far, she has made unofficial visits to North Carolina, South Carolina and Clemson.

O'Cain predicts that Wilson will wait until signing day of her senior year to make a decision on her future. On Monday, the junior said she hasn't started to rank the programs yet.

"Everyone's asking me what's your top 5? What's your top 10?" said Wilson, who plays club ball with the Palmetto 76ers. "I'm like, 'I really don't know.' It's jumbled up in this brain of mine.

"It's me and my parents and God and my coaches helping me make the decision, and when the time comes it comes, but I'm not really looking at schools like that."

Wilson also said she doesn't have requirements in a college such as location or style of play. Well, except for one -- growth spurt or not, she still considers herself a guard.

"I talk to coaches, they're like, 'Yeah we'll put you down in the post.' I'm like, 'Whoa, whoa, I'm a guard,' " Wilson said. "There's plenty of girls out there who love to bang. That's just not me.

"I don't really have anything in a school like, 'You have to have this in order for me to come.' I'm not really like that. I think if the coach understands how I play, we'll get together quite well."

Still, Wilson has been working on her strength, since she knows how important it will be at the next level. After a year in the weight room, she's become a more physical player, like it or not.

"She's not the one getting knocked down on the floor," O'Cain said. "She's the one knocking people down on the floor."

One thing that hasn't changed is her attitude. An outgoing, well-rounded teenager who loves cartoons and is involved in her church, Wilson becomes an intense competitor with the basketball in her hand.

"Off the court she's a very laid-back girl," said O'Cain, who has coached Wilson for five years. "When she steps on the court, that demeanor changes. She wants to win and she does what it takes to win."

Because of that attitude, it was especially hard for Wilson to sit out the first part of the season with a hard cast around her wrist, covering a swollen bone. She didn't want to rush the recovery process, but it clearly made her hungrier.

She came back in time for the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the week before Christmas. Wilson had 29 points, 19 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals in her first game back, a 69-65 win against Penfield (N.Y.), and put up a triple-double (19 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks) to close out the tournament against Miami (Fla.).

"I love to play basketball and I hate watching," Wilson said. "So me sitting out, oh gosh, I can't even explain how it felt to be back on the court. It feels amazing to be back."

Entering this week she is averaging 26.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, 6.7 blocks, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals a game. Those numbers exemplify an all-around game that ensures coaches like Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell will keep watching her until she makes up her mind.

Wilson said she enjoys seeing all the coaches and likes the recruiting process, making it more likely she won't be picking a school any time soon.

"I enjoy seeing them," Wilson said. "And I'm pretty sure they enjoy seeing me, too."


6-6 A'ja Wilson does it all at Basketball
on the Bayou

A'ja Wilson is a 6-6 combo guard from Columbia, South Carolina who plays for the Palmetto 76ers AAU program. Her size and athleticism make her one of the most sought after recruits for the class of 2014.

 

By Kelly Kline - @FullCourtWBBall (Fullcourt.com)

 

Original article - Click Here

 

July 25, 2012 - A’Ja Wilson loves cartoons, dancing and is a self professed girly-girl. “I like wearing pearls and I’m addicted to Phineas and Ferb”, says the rising junior from Columbia SC with a big smile.

The cartoon character most college coaches have in their heads for Wilson, though, is a super hero, as the 6-6 wing is one of the most sought after players in the 2014 class. With her combination of size, speed and athleticism, she has the potential to elevate any team to another level.

You want proof? In three pool-play games with the Palmetto 76ers at Basketball on the Bayou, Wilson put up 27, 31 and 18 points -- and she would have had more in the third game but went to the bench with nine minutes remaining after tweaking her knee.

And despite being 6-6. the first thing you notice about Wilson is her ability to run the floor. She can rebound the ball and go coast-to-coast, easily

navigating by smaller players who try to slow her down, and once she gets near the basket, she has a beautiful finger roll, a step-through, a jump-hop and a spin move. She’s much more agile than her height would suggest and because she attacks the rim, she also gets to the free-throw line. But scoring isn’t the only upside for Wilson, as she’s a huge shot blocking presence and has shown the ability defend in the paint without fouling.

 

And if that weren't enough, Wilson has an impressive vertical. She can dunk, even though she hasn't attempted one in a game, and she can catch a lob pass at the rim and score without bringing the ball down into traffic. If she does need to gather herself, she has a nice pump fake -- though there aren't many girls who are going to block a 6-6 player's shot.

A'Ja Wilson is a 6-6 wing from Columbia,
							South Carolina, class of 2014. (photo by Kelly Kline)

A'Ja Wilson is a 6-6 wing from Columbia,
South Carolina, class of 2014.
(photo by Kelly Kline)

 

 

During the 76ers game against KC Select White, Wilson and point guard Naomi Moore looked a lot like the Lob City duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. Four times Wilson scored off a pretty lob pass from Moore (without the dunk of course, but that remains to be developed and it certainly plays out that way in the super hero version).

 

Wilson says she’s actively working on her upper body strength, which will help her ability to absorb physical contact and finish. She also must extend her shooting range and continue to improve her ball handling, which is already pretty impressive given her size.

Wilson has a great teacher in her father, who is 6-8 and played professionally in Sweden for 10 years. “He has helped me a lot in moving from the post to the wing,” says the young prodigy. “He says it’s all mental. If you’re not mentally strong, then you won’t be physically strong”

This past high school season, Wilson averaged a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds to go along with six blocks a game as a sophomore for Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. She helped guide her team to the semifinals of the state independent school 3A tournament and was the independent school player of the year for the second straight season. (South Carolina recruit Asia Dozier, a senior from Spring Valley, was the public school player of the year.)

As for her future, Wilson was tight-lipped about schools she is considering. Her AAU coach, Jerome Dickson, who is also an assistant coach for Heathwood Hall, says she’s had offers from every major program in the country and has already visited a number of ACC and SEC campuses. A’ja says she won’t commit early, and plans to take the recruiting process slowly and make a decision with her family next year.

The real life script Wilson wants to write is to be one of the best, “ I want to go to the highest level you can be, I want to win gold, I want to be an Olympian. That’s my goal.”

There’s nothing comic about that statement, and if Wilson continues to work hard, it can be reality.


Another round of Boo

April 25, 2012 - By Chris Hansen, Hoopgulz.com - Read the Full Story HERE

 

HAMPTON, Va. -- With thousands of players on the courts at the 2012 Boo Williams Nike Invitational, we look at some more standouts from the spring NCAA-certified viewing period.  Class of 2014 ...

 

Aj'a Wilson - Boo Williams Invitational

 

A'ja Wilson (Hopkins, S.C.), Palmetto 76ers: The ability of this 6-3 combo-forward is undeniable. Wilson has the size, strength and skill to be one of the most complete and versatile inside players in the class. She was impressive attacking the basket from the high post and short corner, showcasing balance and smooth athleticism that simply can't be taught. She was equally impressive showing her ball-handling and passing skills, and on multiple occasions took a defensive rebound and started the break on her own. She also plays through contact and gets to the line. The only question is the level of completion she is facing. Matchups with Brianna Turner and Jatarie White would have given that context, and both were in the tournament but in different brackets. Perhaps the USA Basketball trials next month can make that happen.


High School Sports Report - All State Players

Heathwood Hall

A'ja Wilson -SCISA Miss Basketball
Victoria Dickerson
Chelsea Joseph

Orangeburg Wilkinson High School
Vondria Ritter - Rookie of the Year

Dutch Fork High School
Alaina Coates - 4a Player of the Year

Dreher High School
Kaydra Duckett - 3a Player of the Year
Mikayla Johnson


Young Dreher Rolls to First State Crown
Since 2002

March 4, 2012 - By AKILAH IMANI NELSON - Read the Full Story HERE

 

Palmetto 76er's Kaydra Duckett, Makayla Johnson & Jazmine Robinson and their Dreher Lady Blue Devils won the 2012 Class 3A State Championship, defeating Wade Hampton 82 to 50.


Foxes Reign at Last

Dutch Fork claims its first state championship with a dominating performance

 

March 3, 2012 - By AKILAH IMANI NELSON - Read the Full Story HERE

 

Palmetto 76er Alaina Coates and her Dutch Fork Lady Foxes won the 2012 Class 4A State Championship, defeating Orangeburg-Wilkinson 61 to 29.

 


Two 76ers Ranked Nationally!

June 25, 2010

 

D&D Development and the Palmetto 76ers are proud to announce that A’ja Wilson & Kaydra Duckett are now ranked in the country!!! All Star Girls Sports Report, Mike White National Ranking, has A’ja ranked #2 as a Power Forward and overall ranking of # 11th in the country. Kaydra is ranked #6 at the Point Guard position and # 18th overall in the country. The #1 player in the country is Jatarie White, Center, Charlotte Country Day, the school of former Palmetto 76er Janae Johnson who is now at Duke University. What a huge accomplishment that displays the blessings poured out on these young ladies!! It reinforces their commitment and hard work and the commitment of those around them that have promised to ensure that they are better players and persons.

College coaches have projected that by the end of the summer, both will be ranked overall in the top 5 in the country. This is a true indication that the Palmetto 76ers have proven to be a formidable opponent in these exposure events that we have traveled to…...AND we’re still getting better individually and as a team. The entire Palmetto 76ers team is to be congratulated for rallying around A’ja & Kaydra to help them get to this level of achievement. Rarely do players do it alone. We are truly proud.


 


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