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What Joyce Edwards would do for Gamecock recruiting class that’s drawing national hype

South Carolina women’s basketball has one of the best incoming classes in the nation.

Five-star prospects Maddy McDaniel (a point guard and the No. 12 recruit in the country) and Adhel Tac (post player and No. 26 overall recruit) signed their national letters of intent last week.

The Gamecocks top prospect — No. 2 overall recruit Joyce Edwards — will announce her college decision Wednesday in the Camden High School gym.

Should the Gamecocks land Edwards, the 2024 class would cement itself as one of the top three in the nation. South Carolina would tie Southern Cal and UCLA for the most 2024 five-star pledges in the nation with three apiece.

Southern Cal has No. 6 prospect Kennedy Smith, No. 23 prospect Avery Howell and No. 28 prospect Kayleigh Heckel. UCLA has No. 14 Kendall Dudley, No. 24 Avary Cain and No. 27 Zania Socka-Nguemen.

Both of South Carolina’s 2024 signees received nods from ESPN as some of the best high school players in the country, as did Edwards.

McDaniel was labeled as one of the best playmakers in the nation. Tac was listed as one of the country’s top around-the-rim hoopers as well as one with immense upside. Edwards was listed as an elite rebounder.

McDaniel is a 5-foot-9 point guard out of Bishop McNamara in Maryland. In August, she was the first class of 2024 recruit to pledge to play for coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks.

Being a playmaker means being someone who “can make plays for themselves, but more importantly, make plays for others,” the section descriptor read. “They are a threat to score with the ball in their hands, know how to put themselves in positions to attack, and also how to counter and set up the defense to put a teammate in a position to score.”

Last week Staley praised McDaniel’s ability to run the floor and keep up with South Carolina’s fast pace.

“Maddy’s a heavy point guard that really plays both sides of the basketball, can store it, communicates well, defends well,” Staley said last week. “Great addition.”

At 6-foot-5, Tac is one of the nation’s best post players. She didn’t play over the summer due to injury but has since recovered and returns to South Grand Prairie High School in Texas this year to compete for a 6A state title.

Staley compared Tac to one of the best players to ever wear a South Carolina jersey as far as how she sees the floor.

“Adhel is, I would probably say from a communication standpoint, she’s more like Aliyah (Boston),” Staley said. “She sees the floor. She directs. She’s super athletic. She can score from the outside. She’s definitely pretty efficient with two feet in the paint. Upside is incredible.”

Edwards, a 6-foot-2 senior, is South Carolina’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year. She was also named USA Today High School Sports National Girls Athlete of the Year and 2022-23 MaxPreps Female National Athlete of the Year. As a junior at Camden, she averaged 28.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game and eclipsed 3,000 career points.

The crowd at South Carolina’s 114-76 victory over then-No. 14 Maryland Sunday broke out in chants of, “We want Joyce!” Edwards attended the game and announced her commitment date the next day.

She won gold in the Under-19 World Cup with Team USA and current Gamecock Chloe Kitts over the summer. Edwards — the youngest player on the roster — was the squad’s leading scorer for the tournament, averaging 12.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

In addition to a stellar basketball career, Edwards has earned all-state honors in soccer and volleyball.

If she pledged to the Gamecocks this week, she would join former five-star MiLaysia Fulwiley as South Carolina’s most recent in-state, high-profile commits.