Boston won the NCAA championship in 2022 with the South Carolina Gamecocks and was selected first overall in last year’s WNBA draft

Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark

Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark. Photo:Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty; C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty

Gearing up for her second season in the WNBA, Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston says she’s “really excited” for the upcoming draft class to enter the league.

“It’s always an exciting moment and I’m so glad for those that have declared and those who will declare once March Madness is over,” Boston, 22, tells PEOPLE when asked about Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Stanford’s Cameron Brink, who both declared for the WNBA Draft in the last month.

“It’s just really amazing to see them being able to take that next step into being a professional athlete just as I did last year,” Boston, a former star for the South Carolina Gamecocks, adds. “And so I’m really excited for them to be able to finish out this season strong and be welcomed into the W.”

Boston was drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever in 2023, and since the franchise also holds this year’s no. 1 pick, it’s expected that Boston and Clark, 22, will both play for the Fever next WNBA season.

Basketball analysts expect Brink, 22, to go second overall, which would land her in Los Angeles with the Sparks.

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Boston, who helped the Gamecocks win the NCAA title in 2022 under coach Dawn Staley, averaged 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game with the Fever this season, with an impressive 40% shooting percentage on her three-point shots.

“I had a lot of fun,” Boston says of her rookie year. “I think it was definitely a learning curve and a growth curve for me, just finding more about myself as a basketball player and off the court as well. But I enjoyed my time. I think I had a really great first year and I’m excited for what’s to come in the second year.”

Aliyah Boston #7 of the Indiana Fever drives to the basket during the game against the Atlanta Dream on August 27, 2023

Aliyah Boston #7 of the Indiana Fever drives to the basket during the game against the Atlanta Dream on August 27, 2023.Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty

As she looks back on her debut in the W, Boston shares her advice for the incoming players as they transition into the professional league.

“Continue to be confident in you and your game, and trust God,” says Boston. “And I say that because you are coming into this league where people know what you do. You’re capable of it, that’s why you’re here. And so just continue to be confident in who you are, your game, and just continue to trust the process. It’s a long season and just enjoy every moment of it.”

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To celebrate this year’s March Madness tournament, Boston teamed up with Coke Zero Sugar for their “Best Fan Ever” campaign as she cheers on her Gamecocks.

Boston appears in the fun commercial alongside thousands of college basketball fans, and says “it was amazing” filming the spot.

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“I felt like I was in the crowd, and honestly, that’s how I cheer on my Gamecocks. Even when I’m watching them from home, that’s exactly who I am. And so to be able to be in that commercial and just show the importance of how important fans are, was really cool for me,” she says.

Having won it all with South Carolina, Boston notes the importance of fans to the tournament. “Fans are really important because whether you’re a home team or away game, you hear the fans, and the more, the better,” she says.

“The more pressure you put on the opponents the better, because now they’re coming into a gym with crazy fans that just always stay loud. You want them to come to each game and I think that is what makes this so special, especially around March Madness, is you have fans that are traveling from all over the place to come and see their favorite team play.”

Next, the Gamecocks will host the Indiana Hoosiers in the Sweet 16 round on Friday.