McDonald's All-American Joyce Edwards, "At the end of the day Dawn Staley drew me to South Carolina"

On3 imageby:Jamie Shaw03/31/24


Dawn Staley, Tessa Johnson, Ashlyn Watkins; South Carolina women's basketball advances to Final Four

Joyce Edwards recently earned Gatorade National Player of the Year honors. The Camden (SC) High School senior forward averaged 31.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.5 steals, and 3.3 blocks per game this season.

“I’m very versatile,” Edwards told On3 during the 2024 McDonald’s All-American week. “I would say I’m very much a slasher, a two-way player. You know, if you can’t play defense you can’t get on the floor. I’m working on my middie, continuing to extend that to the three-point line.

Edwards is the next in line of recent basketball players from South Carolina, Zion Williamson, and A’ja Wilson, to be highly regarded in the national spotlight. 

“It’s an honor to be considered with the likes of A’ja and Zion Williams, the great players that came from South Carolina before me,” Edwards said. “At the end of the day, you have to meet the expectations and you have to put the work in daily. But I am grateful for that opportunity.”

Joyce Edwards signed with South Carolina

Edwards, who carries a 5.08 weighted GPA in high school, signed with Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks during the early signing period. 

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to go to South Carolina, especially at the beginning of my recruitment,” Edwards said. “They didn’t have my major, but my dad worked on campus so he was kind of close. I feel like at the end of the day Dawn Staley drew me to South Carolina. 

“Between my top three schools, I told them all that I didn’t think I was going to be able to sign early,” Edwards continued, “But just the way that Coach Staley responded was different from the other coaches. That is really what helped make my decision for them.”

As she mentioned, Edwards was a big fan of Staley’s personality both on and off the court. And it was her comfort with the coach that helped move along her process. 

“Coach is chill, she is really funny,” Edwards said. “She is going to take care of you. She is that coach that you can just come to for everything and anything. I feel like she played basketball and she knows what you’re going through on and off the court because in college you are a student-athlete. I just feel like you can come to her for anything and she is going to be there.”

“They’re a winning program,” Edwards said. “Dawn coaches them really hard and I feel like this year they don’t really have a lot of seniors, except for Kamilla (Cardoso) is leaving, and (Te-Hina) Paopao. As a team, they stick together, their chemistry off the court, you can see it on the court. I feel like their defense, their versatility, the fact that anyone can show up at any time, that makes them hard to stop.”

Joyce Edwards is coming to South Carolina as a top recruit and McDonald’s All-American status has expectations, but she does not think of those. But she does have one thing on her mind coming into next season, defense.

“I’m just coming in next year with an open mind,” Edwards said. “I don’t really try to think about my role next year. I come in and think defense first, and then I get in the lab and after I see what I need to work on and where they have me, I’ll go from there. It’s defense first though.”