South Carolina Basketball: Where will Kamilla Cardoso go in next week's WNBA Draft?

South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso will be a high pick in next week's WNBA Draft.
South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso
South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball fans are used to paying attention to the WNBA Draft.

During the Dawn Staley era in Columbia, there have been 10 1st round picks in the WNBA Draft as Aliyah Boston (pick 1, 2023), A'ja Wilson (pick 1, 2018), Alaina Coates (pick 2, 2017), Allisha Gray (pick 4, 2017), Kiki Herbert-Harrigan (pick 6, 2020), Ty Harris (pick 7, 2020), Laeiticia Amihere (pick 8, 2023), Tiffany Mitchell (pick 9, 2016), Zia Cooke (pick 10, 2023), and Kaela Davis (pick 10, 2017) have all been taken in the 1st round of the last 7 drafts.

Last year, Boston, Amihere, and Cooke were joined by Brea Beal and Victaria Saxton to set a WNBA Draft record. Never before had a team had 5 players picked in the same draft, but the Gamecocks pulled it off in 2023.

While there won't be 5 South Carolina stars taken in this year's draft, there will be another Gamecock 1st rounder this year as center Kamilla Cardoso is projected by most outlets to be a top-5 pick next week.

ESPN has projected Cardoso to go 3rd, 4th, and 5th in recent WNBA Draft mocks, but the latest mock draft from Michael Voepel has the Gamecock great being selected 3rd overall by the Chicago Sky. Voepel (and everyone else) has Caitlin Clark going 1st overall to the Indiana Fever where she will team up with former Gamecock Aliyah Boston. In Voepel's mock, rival post player Angel Reese is also headed to Chicago in the 1st round.

Among the many talented post players in this year's draft, Cardoso is in the unique position of being the only true center likely to be taken in the top-10. Players like Cameron Brink, Angel Reese, and Aaliyah Edwards can play center but are more likely to play more minutes at power forward as a pro.

With the WNBA Draft set for Monday, April 15th at 7:30 PM EST (it will be on ESPN and steamed on the ESPN app), Cardoso doesn't have much longer before her professional career begins.

After spending some time serving some Raising Cane's chicken to South Carolina basketball fans on Wednesday, Cardoso talked a little about her next steps.

The Brazilian post player spoke about what her last three years in Columbia meant, how excited she is to join the professional game, her one request for Gamecock fans, and even about the prospects of her shooting more 3-pointers at the next level.

Cardoso told the media in attendance that she felt like the hardest thing about going to the WNBA was that it meant she had to leave the South Carolina basketball program. She called her decision to transfer from Syracuse to South Carolina the "best decision of my life," and she repeatedly expressed to the FAMs "I love you."

As difficult as it will be for her to leave Columbia (a place she called a "home away from home"), Cardoso is excited to get to New York this weekend for next week's draft and can't wait to compete at the professional level. She even joked (or maybe she wasn't joking) that she was "working on" her outside shooting game so that she can make more 3-pointers like the one she did to win the SEC Tournament semifinal against Tennessee.

Cardoso told the crowd of fans on Wednesday that no matter where she ends up as a rookie next season, she has just one request of them when she turns pro: please keep loving and supporting her. She referred to the fans' support of her and her team as one of her favorite memories of her time in garnet and black.

Cardoso need not worry, though, because as the Gamecock-stars-turned-WNBA-stars who came before her can attest, South Carolina basketball fans will have her back until the end of time.

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