South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock signee a finalist for Naismith National Player of the Year honor

South Carolina basketball signee Joyce Edwards is one of five finalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year award.

South Carolina basketball signee Joyce Edwards
South Carolina basketball signee Joyce Edwards / MCKENZIE LANGE/ Staff / USA TODAY
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South Carolina basketball signee Joyce Edwards is special.

The 5-star Camden High School product has been rated as highly as the #1 player in the country, and when she signed with the Gamecocks this fall, she was 2nd in the national recruiting rankings.

Currently, Edwards is leading her Camden High team through the 3A state playoffs where the Bulldogs are defending their title from last year.

The talented forward's efforts as a high school player have earned her lots of accolades. She is a 2023-2024 McDonald's All-American (along with future Gamecock teammate Maddy McDaniel), and she has won or is nominated for a long list of awards.

This week, the most prestigious of those awards, the Naismith National Player of the Year, announced that Edwards was a finalist for the honor.

Edwards is joined as a finalist by three other seniors and one junior. The three seniors are point guard Jaloni Cambridge (former Gamecock target headed to Ohio State), wing Morgan Cheli (a UConn signee), and forward Sarah Strong (an ucommitted player who is considering the Gamecocks; ranked #1 in recruiting rankings). The junior is Aaliyah Chavez, a dynamic South Carolina basketball point guard target currently ranked at the top of next year's class.

Edwards is viewed as the top defensive prospect in the 2024 class as she can guard every position on the floor with her impressive athleticism and length. However, she has a lot more to her game than just defense. Last month, she posted one of the most impressive high school stat lines in South Carolina basketball history as she dropped 52 points, snagged 18 rebounds, dished out 9 assists, swiped 9 steals, and had 8 blocks. She also dropped a quadruple-double earlier in the season.

Even in a crowded Gamecock frontcourt, Joyce Edwards is good enough to push for major playing time next year.

Edwards and the other finalists will find out if they won the award in March right after the Naismith Awards group announces their All-American teams.

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