Heathwood's Wilson rises to the top

Heathwood Hall rising senior A'ja Wilson is regarded as the nation's top girls basketball recruit in the Class of 2014.

COLUMBIA (WACH)- Growing up, A'ja Wilson was not even interested in playing basketball. Fast forward six years later, and she is the most sought after recruit in the Class of 2014.

The 6-foot-4 junior at Heathwood Hall did not want to follow in her father's footsteps when she was young. Roscoe Wilson spent ten seasons playing professional basketball overseas, but A'ja was interested in soccer and volleyball as a child.

"I noticed she was pretty tall for her age at 9 or 10, and I was like let's give basketball a try," Roscoe said.

Roscoe signed A'ja up for a local AAU basketball team and it did not go so well her first year.

"I got no playing time at all," A'ja said. "My dad told me you've got one more year to try and that's when I really fell in love with it."

And that's when it all changed. A'ja and Roscoe practiced everyday in the driveway at the Wilson's home.

"Daddy's gonna mess with his daughter like he would mess with his son," Roscoe said. "I'd block her shot and she'd get mad and come back and play more aggressive."

That toughness at home translated onto the basketball court. Wilson made the varsity team at Heathwood during her eighth grade year, and never looked back.

In her junior year, she averaged 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game. Those numbers and playing on the AAU circuit gained the nation's attention and a target was placed on her back.

"Every time I play, my dad says they're coming after you because you're the number one player," A'ja said. "Everyone I play from here on out is going to give it their all."

In May, A'ja was named to the USA Women's Basketball U-19 World Championship team. She will try and help the U.S. capture its fifth-straight gold medal beginning in July.