South Carolina Basketball: Future Gamecock a finalist for national player of the year

South Carolina basketball signee Joyce Edwards was named the Palmetto State's Gatorade Player of the Year and is 1 of 3 national player of the year finalists.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with 5-star signee Joyce Edwards
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with 5-star signee Joyce Edwards / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley has one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming in next season. The crown jewel of the class is Joyce Edwards.

On Thursday, news broke that Joyce Edwards was the Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year (for the second year in a row) and had been selected as one of three finalists for the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She is joined as a finalist by Southern Cal commitment Kennedy Smith and Ohio State pledge Jaloni Cambridge.

If Edwards brings home the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year honor, she will be the 2nd South Carolina basketball signee to have won the award. Saniya Rivers won the award before arriving in Columbia prior to the 2021-2022 season. However, things did not work out for Rivers in Columbia, and she left the program for more playing time at NC State.

Edwards, unlike Rivers, is a South Carolina native who spent her high school years dominating the court for the Camden Bulldogs. She won the last two state player of the year honors and led Camden to the last two state championships. She also has been all over the other national award watch lists.

Edwards has been ranked as high as #1 in the high school recruiting rankings and finished the cycle ranked #2 in the country. She is considered the top defensive player in the class, and her offensive game is nice, as well. During the South Carolina Basketball High School League Playoffs, Edwards outscored Camden's opponents by herself.

When Edwards arrives on campus at the University of South Carolina, she will have the chance to compete for early playing time. With Kamilla Cardoso likely headed off to the WNBA and Sakima Walker having a decision to make about her future (she is also in year 4 of her college career), Edwards could force her way into a prominent role for Dawn Staley's team next year.

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