South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock freshman honored again for standout performance

South Carolina basketball freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley was honored as the SEC's Freshman of the Week for the second time in three weeks.
South Carolina basketball freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley
South Carolina basketball freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley has had the luxury of playing two point guards on the floor in her starting lineup this season. Raven Johnson and Te-Hina Paopao have meshed very well together (usually with Paopao sliding over to the 2-spot). However, the Gamecocks have a young point guard on the roster who can do things that almost no other player in the country can.

MiLaysia Fulwiley, a true freshman from Columbia, has come off the bench this season for USC, and she has been a dynamic player who gives the Gamecocks a shot in the arm when she steps on the court. While she is not quite ready to play full-time point guard minutes, she doesn't have to because of the veterans Johnson and Paopao.

Fulwiley has been a viral sensation since game 1 with highlight reel layups (yes, highlight reel layups), behind-the-back moves, impossibly difficult passes, long 3-point bombs, and a knack for buzzer beaters.

Her athleticism, aggressiveness, and ball skills (as a dribbler, passer, and layup finisher) create a unique combination that is rarely seen in women's college basketball. Partner that with tenacious effort on both ends of the court, and it is easy to see why Coach Staley referred to Fulwiley as a generational talent this preseason.

That generational talent has been impressing the college basketball world all year, and for the second time in the last three weeks, MiLaysia Fulwiley has been selected as the SEC's Freshman of the Week.

Last week in two Gamecock wins on the road over Auburn and at home over Ole Miss, Fulwiley averaged 14.5 points and 3 stocks (steals + blocks) to provide a huge spark for her team. In both games, a Fulwiley run provided South Carolina basketball with a little separation on the scoreboard when the game was closer than anticipated.

Fulwiley has shown more than flashes of brilliance in the 2023-2024 season. Once she becomes more consistent, she will take a huge jump up in production.

With Te-Hina Paopao facing a WNBA decision this summer (she has one more year of eligibility but has been in college for four seasons, making her a candidate to be selected in the 2024 WNBA Draft), Fulwiley could be in line to step into a starter's role next year. If Paopao returns, then the Gamecocks again will have the enviable "problem" of having more elite players than starting spots.

MiLaysia Fulwiley and her South Carolina basketball squad will face off with the Missouri Tigers at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday evening. The game will begin at 7:00 EST and will be shown on the SECNetwork.

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