South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso on transferring to USC: "The best decision of my life"

South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso called transferring to the Gamecocks the best decision of her life.
South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso with guard Raven Johnson and forward Chloe Kitts
South Carolina basketball post player Kamilla Cardoso with guard Raven Johnson and forward Chloe Kitts / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball won their third national title on Sunday, knocking off Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-75, but things aren't slowing down for Gamecock star Kamilla Cardoso.

The 6'7" star center declared for the WNBA Draft just before the Final Four, and when April 15th rolls around, Cardoso will be a top-5 pick in the 1st round.

As she gets ready to travel to New York this weekend for the draft festivities, she is soaking up the final moments she has with South Carolina basketball fans. The FAMs (the affectionate nickname Dawn Staley and her team use to refer to the Gamecock Faithful) love Cardoso, and she loves them, something she made abundantly clear on Wednesday.

Alongside fellow Gamecock MiLaysia Fulwiley, Kamilla Cardoso spent time with the FAMs at an event put on by Raising Cane's. The chicken restaurant does not have a location in Columbia, but they sent down a food truck from Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate the national champion Gamecocks and their fans. Cardoso and Fulwiley even worked a shift in the truck, providing the FAMs with lunch. (And, yes, the 6'7" Cardoso was a little too tall for the food truck.)

The two players also spoke to the media for a bit, and Cardoso spoke glowingly about her experience as a Gamecock.

When asked about what her last three years meant to her, the Brazil native spoke about how Columbia had become a home away from home and that her decision to transfer from Syracuse to South Carolina was "the best decision of my life."

That wasn't the first time Cardoso has said something similar about her time in garnet and black.

In her WNBA announcement, she called her teammates "sisters" and thanked her coaches for their "unwavering support." She expressed her gratitude to the fans for always believing in her and having her back from day 1.

Cardoso's legacy as a Gamecock will be one of dominance on the court and graciousness off of it. The last week of her life has showcased that reality.

In the two Final Four games against NC State in the semifinal and Iowa in the championship, Cardoso went off for 37 points, 28 rebounds, 5 blocks, and shot 65% from the field. She was an easy choice for Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

After the game, though, Cardoso spent extra time taking pictures with fans and signing autographs. On Wednesday, at the Raising Cane's event, she signed tons of autographs and took even more pictures, well beyond the amount she agreed to do (MiLaysia Fulwiley deserves credit here, too, as she did the same).

If fans weren't aware, Cardoso's NIL situation is different than most as she is an international student here in the United States on a student visa. If none of those words mean anything to you, it simply means that Cardoso didn't get paid to participate in this event; she did it all for free.

Kamilla Cardoso gave everything she had to South Carolina basketball and the FAMs over the past three seasons, but on Wednesday, for the first time, she asked for something in return. When asked if there was anything else she wanted to say to the FAMs in attendance, she thanked them for their support, repeatedly saying "I love you." But she added, almost sheepishly, that she hopes the fans will continue to support her when she arrives in the WNBA.

Support from the Gamecocks' loyal fans won't be an issue for Kamilla Cardoso. Carolina supporters have rabidly cheered on the professional accomplishments of fellow USC greats like A'ja Wilson, Aliyah Boston, and Allisha Gray, and that type of support will continue for Cardoso, as well.

Coverage of the WNBA Draft will begin at 7:00 on Monday, April 15th, and it will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN app.

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