Candace Parker is picking Aliyah Boston over Caitlin Clark for college basketball's Player of the Year

Candace Parker is picking Aliyah Boston over Caitlin Clark for college basketball's Player of the Year
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Candace Parker (left) is picking South Carolina's Aliyah Boston for player of the year.
Candace Parker (left) is picking South Carolina's Aliyah Boston for player of the year.AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.; AP Photo/Sean Rayford
  • WNBA star Candace Parker made her pick for women's college basketball's Player of the Year.

  • The former Tennessee Volunteer picked South Carolina star Aliyah Boston to win the coveted award.

  • Parker told Insider that the 6-foot-5 center is "the best player on the best team in the country."

This year's red hot women's college basketball National Player of the Year race is coming down to the wire.

Four players are still in the running as finalists for the prestigious Naismith Trophy — Baylor's NaLyssa Smith, Stanford's Haley Jones, Iowa's Caitlin Clark, and South Carolina's Aliyah Boston — but the latter two are widely considered the favorites to take home the sport's most coveted individual accolade.

Caitlin Clark.
Caitlin Clark high fives her Iowa Hawkeyes teammates.AP Photo/Ronald Cortes

WNBA superstar Candace Parker knows which one she'd go with.

"I am picking Aliyah Boston as player of the year, just because what more was she gonna do?" Parker told Insider. "She's the best player on the best team in the country."

Indeed, Dawn Staley's 6-foot-5 center has been the crown jewel for the Gamecocks throughout their near-perfect season, averaging a remarkably efficient 16.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. But considering South Carolina's 2021-22 roster boasts a whopping 11 former McDonald's All-Americans, Boston's impressive numbers are actually deflated compared to what she'd accomplish with virtually any other team.

Aliyah Boston.
Boston.AP Photo/Sean Rayford

But Parker doesn't believe Boston's surrounding cast should impact her Player of the Year campaign.

"The definition of MVP is hilarious, because it's like, 'Well, they don't have as much on their team [whereas] they do and they have a better record,'" Parker said. "Like no, you can't help who's next to you. You can't help the judgment of the players that are next to you, if you have help or whatever. Judge on her performance."

And Boston's performances have been absolutely magnificent on both sides of the ball. The SEC Player of the Year and three-time conference Defensive Player of the Year boasts a top-10 ranking in both offensive and defensive efficiency, rating at ninth and second, respectively. No other player in the country appears in the top 30 of both categories.

Aliyah Boston.
Boston (right) walks alongside South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.AP Photo/Sean Rayford

Additionally, the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, native is riding on a conference-record 24 consecutive double-doubles — the longest active streak in the nation. But perhaps most impressive about the junior's season has been her Division I leading 13.9 win shares. Reminder: 10 of Boston's teammates were considered among the best players in America heading into college, and she's still putting up the nation's best statistics in the category.

"As of now, in terms of defensively [and] offensively," Parker said. "Whenever South Carolina needs a bucket, she's the one that gets it."

Clark — the electrifying 6-foot guard who took the Big Ten conference and the whole country by storm in her sophomore season — is quite the bucket-getter in her own right. She orchestrated the Hawkeyes' offense and led the entire nation with 27 points and 8.0 assists per game, becoming the only player besides Oklahoma-turned-NBA superstar Trae Young to rank first in Division I in both categories.

Aliyah Boston.
Boston.Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The West Des Moines, Iowa, native also tallied 8.1 rebounds per game and more triple-doubles on the year than any other player — regardless of gender — in Division I college basketball. Despite all the aforementioned accolades, Clark is almost certainly best known for letting it fly from far and wide, sinking three-pointers from the logo like Steph Curry or Damian Lillard.

"I know Caitlin Clark is a sniper in Iowa," Parker said. "[But] I think the ranking of Iowa may hurt her."

Clark and the Hawkeyes entered March Madness as a two seed in the Greensboro region just over a week removed from winning the Big Ten tournament. But after trouncing Illinois State by 40 in the opening round of March Madness, Iowa faltered against the 10th-seeded Creighton Bluejays, bowing out of the tournament before the second weekend — where a potential matchup with Boston and No. 1 South Carolina loomed.

Caitlin Clark.
Clark.AP Photo/Justin Hayworth

The Gamecocks, meanwhile, are still dancing into the Sweet 16. They dominated the Howard Bison with a whopping 58-point victory in their opening-round game, then took down a surging Miami Hurricanes squad by 16 points despite shooting a season-low 29.5% from the field.

They'll take on the fifth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels Friday and, should they win, advance to face the winner of Iowa State vs. Creighton for a trip to Minneapolis. Surely, Boston leading South Carolina to the Final Four would help bolster her case for National Player of the Year.

The Gamecocks take on North Carolina Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Naismith Women's College Player of the Year award winner will be announced Saturday, April 2 — the day before the national championship game.

Read the original article on Insider