Giving back to the territory: Boston's 'UA Next' camp today at UVI – Virgin Islands Daily News

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Partly to mostly cloudy skies with scattered thunderstorms during the morning. High 87F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%..
Partly cloudy this evening. Scattered thunderstorms developing after midnight. Low 79F. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Updated: September 27, 2022 @ 3:23 am

When St. Thomas native Aliyah Boston was in talks with Under Armour on a Name, Image and Likeness agreement with the sports apparel maker, one of her biggest wishes was a way to give something back to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
That wish will finally come to fruition today, when Boston plays host to 50 players from across the territory in the inaugural “UA Next” girls basketball camp at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas.
The Under Armour-sponsored camp will have 50 middle and high school players — 25 each from St. Croix and St. Thomas — taking part in the daylong camp, with instruction on basketball fundamentals coming from coaches and former players both from the territory and stateside.
“I’m looking forward to this. I’m excited,” Boston said in a telephone interview Thursday. “It was pretty important, just because giving back to my community is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and continue to do. Just making sure that whatever [the NIL agreement] was going to be, they just knew that this was important to me.
“The camp is just really special. … I’m just going to experience this camp, and I know it’s going to go well. If I think anything needs to change or anything for the future, then that’s something I’ll definitely take notes on it. But, I’m just excited.”
Boston — the consensus national player of the year who led South Carolina’s women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament championship last season — has become nationally known, and not just for her basketball prowess.
She’s become one of women’s college basketball’s biggest players in the NIL scene, with her signing of Under Armour in mid-April joining a growing slate of companies like regional fast-foot restaurant chain Bojangles and international casual-shoe maker Crocs.
Boston was also the first to sign an NIL representation deal with Klutch Sports’s new women’s basketball division, which helped put the Under Armour deal together.
And with that growing fame has come Boston’s growing voice on the issues of the day.
“I’ve always been a pretty confident person,” she said. “Usually if I have any thoughts or I think something should happen, I’m pretty good at vocalizing it. If I think something needs to change or I don’t like something, I’m usually pretty good at saying it or expressing it in a respectful way.”
She added, “I think it’s important to use your voice, especially when you have a platform to be able to do that.”
And that includes training opportunities for girls basketball players — something that was non-existent in the territory when Boston and her sister, Alexis, first took up the sport.
Now, thanks to her desires — with a little help from Under Armour, which will supply the camp attendees with athletic apparel and shoes — Boston will see that take a big step forward.
“We want to make sure that everyone continues to learn,” she said. “We have a plan, and [today] we’re gonna execute it.”
Boston would like to see the UA Next camp expand, possibly to other locations such as Columbia, S.C., where the University of South Carolina is located.
But first and foremost is keeping the camp going in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Oh, most definitely,” Boston said. “I definitely want to do this in St. Thomas, though. This is the first priority, because this is where I came from. I just want to be able to help and give back to this community.”
— Contact Sports Editor Bill Kiser at 340-714-9117, or email bkiser@dailynews.vi.
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