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”.
P.O. Box 1724
Columbia, SC 29202
Heathwood’s Wilson & Team USA U19 are golden
August 2, 2013 - USA Basketball via
ColumbiaStar.com - Read the
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
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.
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 —
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
Naturally, the latter is what many will want to know about
every day during the nine months, but Wilson has a quick
answer — undecided.
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
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,
A’ja Wilson Named to 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U19
World Championship Team!
A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S/Hopkins, S.C.)
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
By Rich Elliott (ctnews.com) -
Click for Story Here
UCONN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Top recruit A'ja Wilson had
By Jim Fuller (nhregister.com) -
Click for Story Here
Quotes 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.
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
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:
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
Until recently, A'ja Wilson was the size of an average
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
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
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
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
"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
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 -
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)
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
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
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
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 ...
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
A'ja Wilson -SCISA Miss Basketball
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
Young Dreher Rolls to First State Crown
March 4, 2012 - By AKILAH IMANI NELSON - Read the
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
March 3, 2012 - By AKILAH IMANI NELSON - Read the
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.