Signature Day at Heathwood Hall
For the past five years, A'ja Wilson has kept the officials sitting at the scorer's table at Heathwood Hall in Columbia, S.C., extremely busy. On Wednesday, with her mom and dad at her side, Wilson will take her turn at the table's hot seat when she announces her college decision on the "ESPNU Signing Day Special" (ESPNU, WatchESPN, 3 p.m. ET).
The lone undeclared prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100, Wilson will be surrounded by family, friends and teammates when she announces her college decision on the first day of the NCAA's regular signing period. And the atmosphere in Heathwood Hall's gym will feel a lot like game days, complete with cheerleaders, music, a PA announcer and A'ja Wilson Fatheads.
"There's no doubt about it," said Sally McKay, the school's director of strategic communications, who has been overseeing the event planning. "This is a very, very exciting day and historical day at Heathwood Hall."
Students at Heathwood Hall -- which has classes ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade -- who don't have other after-school commitments will be dismissed early to attend the event. And McKay said she's expecting a few hundred people, including students, family, friends and Columbia residents, to attend.
In December, Wilson, who has attended Heathwood since she was in first grade, announced her finalists were Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. She has since gone on to lead Heathwood Hall to a state title and was named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year as well as the Naismith Player of the Year and the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year.
"It's hard to imagine what it will be like next year without her on campus," McKay said. "The other students, and I mean down to the younger students, they love her."
McKay says she does not know which school Wilson will choose, but she hopes it's not just wishful thinking to say she expects a close call.
"I'm a Gamecock myself," McKay said. "And a lot of us would like to see her stay close."