South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock freshman named top-5 national newcomer

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

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley has been speaking highly of true freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley for a while now. The Gamecock head coach offered Fulwiley a scholarship when she was still in middle school, and Staley’s eye for talent proved to be a good one.

Fulwiley became a 5-star prospect playing for Keenan High School in Columbia, and she showed herself to be one of the most dynamic offensive players in the country. Fulwiley has almost unlimited range, a rarity in the women’s game, and she is among the quickest and most aggressive drivers in college basketball already.

Despite being under 6’0″ tall (listed anywhere between 5’7″ and 5’10” during recruiting and officially listed at 5’10” on the South Carolina basketball roster), she has enough bounce to dunk, something she did multiple times during high school contests.

This illustrates Fulwiley’s explosiveness as an athlete, something that will endear her to fans. The first time she deftly knifes through the entire defense or rises up for a dunk on a fast break, she will leave South Carolina basketball fans with their mouths open.

Chantel Jennings of The Athletic is buying some stock in MiLaysia Fulwiley. The college basketball analyst published her list of the top-20 freshmen in the women’s game, and Fulwiley came in ranked #3. Jennings highlighted her obvious athleticism and ability to rack up stats that will stuff the box score.

Her head coach also knows just how special she can be. When asked earlier this week about Fulwiley’s potential, Staley was hesitant to compare her to other players, even when prompted. Being a high level player and coach, Staley has seen some of the best guards to ever play the game, yet she says that Fulwiley is “different” than any of them.

Because of her immense talent, Fulwiley will player early and often in garnet and black. The Gamecocks have big-time talents Raven Johnson (a freshman All-SEC selection last season) and Te-Hina Paopao (an All-PAC 12 transfer from Oregon) expected to start at guard, but Fulwiley is too good to keep off the floor.

If she can figure out the game defensively at the college level, Fulwiley is athletic enough to play some on the wing in smaller lineups next to the two expected starters, and she can play either guard spot in relief of Johnson and Paopao, as well.

No matter how she gets on the floor this season, South Carolina basketball fans can expect special things from Fulwiley almost immediately.

You can watch some of her film here.

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