South Carolina Basketball: Kamilla Cardoso named semifinalist for national player of the year honors

South Carolina basketball center Kamilla Cardoso made the list of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award.

South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso
South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso is one of the best players in college basketball. The 6'7" post player is a force inside who leads the SEC in both field goal percentage and in blocked shots. That combination of excellence on offense and defense has made her an invaluable piece of the puzzle for the nation's undisputed #1 team this season.

The undefeated Gamecocks would not be where they are today (having won their 7th SEC regular season title in 10 years, picking up their 8th SEC Tournament title in 10 years, and pursuing just the 10th undefeated season in women's college basketball history) without Kamilla Cardoso.

Thankfully, those in charge of selecting national awards seem to see the importance of USC's starting center. She was named a semifinalist for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award and the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Award earlier this week, and she has added another nomination since then.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Kamilla Cardoso was one of ten semifinalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award. She is joined by fellow semifinalists Caitlin Clark (guard, Iowa Hawkeyes), Angel Reese (forward, LSU Tigers), Cameron Brink (forward, Stanford Cardinal), Elizabeth Kitley (forward, Virginia Tech Hokies), JuJu Watkins (guard, Southern Cal Trojans), Hannah Hidalgo (guard, Notre Dame Fighting Irish), Paige Bueckers (guard, UConn Huskies), and Madison Booker (wing, Texas Longhorns).

Cardoso likely will not finish the season as the Naismith Award recipient (Caitlin Clark likely has that honor locked away already), but she is a deserving semifinalist even if some argue that her scoring numbers (just 14 points per game) are too low. Her efficiency, her rebounding, and her defense have meant a lot more to her Gamecock squad than a couple more points per game ever could.

Because of the late-game scuffle against LSU in the SEC Tournament championship game, Cardoso will be suspended for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. As the presumed #1-overall seed, the Gamecocks will play the last team in the field, so they should advance to the Round of 32 with ease. Cardoso will return to the floor in that game, eager to lead her team to their third national title and a date with the history books.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Future Gamecock named finalist for Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. South Carolina Basketball: Future Gamecock named finalist for Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. dark