South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks all over award watch lists

South Carolina basketball stars Kamilla Cardoso, Te-Hina Paopao, Raven Johnson, and MiLaysia Fulwiley all over award watch lists.

South Carolina basketball guard MiLaysia Fulwiley
South Carolina basketball guard MiLaysia Fulwiley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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Dawn Staley's South Carolina basketball team is the unanimous #1 team in the nation and the only undefeated group left in the sports (men's or women's). As such, it is no surprise that the Gamecocks have found themselves all over the award watch lists.

Recently, Te-Hina Paopao and Kamilla Cardoso were put on the watch list for the Nancy Lieberman Award and Lisa Leslie Award, respectively, given to the top point guard and center in the country. Cardoso was also placed on the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Award watch list.

Now, even more Gamecock representation has found its way to award discussions.

Paopao and Cardoso officially were named to the watch list for the Naismith National Player of the Year award, and three Gamecocks were nominated for another honor.

The Dawn Staley Award (obviously named for the legendary coach of the South Carolina basketball program) is given each year to the most outstanding guard in the country who best exemplifies the outstanding game of its namesake: ball-handling, passing, leadership, scoring, and will to win are all factors in determining the Dawn Staley Award winner.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark has won the last three honors and is the favorite to win again. However, three Gamecocks are in the discussion. Te-Hina Paopao, Raven Johnson, and MiLaysia Fulwiley follow in the footsteps of Zia Cooke who was a finalist for the award last season.

Paopao and Johnson represent the two lead guards in Coach Staley's dual-point guard system, and Fulwiley has played both guard spots this year with a type of explosiveness and flair that is rarely seen at any level of basketball.

The Gamecocks also could see players like Bree Hall, Chloe Kitts, and Ashlyn Watkins play their way onto more award watch lists before all is said and done. Though they likely won't have any winners, it speaks to the "team culture" around South Carolina basketball that they can have so many players who put up the numbers needed to make these lists.

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