South Carolina Basketball: 5-star hits the transfer portal

South Carolina basketball. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
South Carolina basketball. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

For the first time this offseason, Dawn Staley’s South Carolina basketball team is losing a player to the transfer portal. Former 5-star point guard prospect Talaysia Cooper has entered her name into the portal after one season at South Carolina. Cooper mostly played a deep bench role as a backup wing for the Gamecocks in the 2022-2023 season.

Cooper averaged just 2.9 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game in 8.2 minutes per game last year. The 6-footer saw action in just 24 games and scored in double-figures twice, once against Charleston Southern and once against Texas A&M. She did not play outside of garbage time in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament and had several DNPs.

The East Clarendon graduate committed to coach Dawn Staley and the South Carolina basketball program in the recruiting class of 2022.

The Gamecocks added four perimeter players between the 2023 high school recruiting class and the transfer portal. Point guard phenom Milaysia Fulwiley, shooting guard Tessa Johnson, and wing Sahnya Jah are the incoming freshmen, and Oregon transfer junior Te-Hina Paopao can play either guard spot. Raven Johnson is just a sophomore, and Bree Hall is a junior.

Cooper would have been one of seven perimeter players that had two or more years of eligibility remaining. The logjam was almost guaranteed to lead to some attrition, and Cooper is the first transfer portal casualty.

Next year’s backcourt will be sure to include a heavy dose of Paopao (an All-Pac 12 performer at Oregon), Johnson (an All-SEC freshman team selection last season), Fulwiley (a 5-star offensive dynamo), and Bree Hall (along with Johnson, the most experienced returning guards to the team). The depth roles are still very much up for grabs.

The Gamecocks will play their first game of the year against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Paris, France on November 6th.