April 30, 2021
South Carolina lands yet another star player in Kamilla Cardoso
Reigning ACC Rookie of the Year transfers from Orange to Gamecocks on her birthday
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The list of newcomers to South Carolina’s 2021-22 squad just got ridiculous, with the program announcing Friday that Cardoso is transferring from Syracuse to play for head coach Dawn Staley.
Add those five players to rising junior superstars Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke and consider the fact that the 6’7 Cardoso is joining the 6’5 Boston in the frontcourt, and you get a lot of hype surrounding this South Carolina team. Could they now be the favorite to claim the No. 1 spot in the national preseason rankings, surpassing a Uconn team that will return AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers and add No. 1 recruit Azzi Fudd?
One thing is for sure: Cardoso can play. The rising sophomore from Montes Claros, Brazil, who turned 20 on Friday, averaged 13.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks for the Orange in 2020-21 en route to winning the Blue Ribbon Panel vote for ACC Rookie of the Year. (Notre Dame’s Maddy Westbeld was named Rookie of the Year by the ACC coaches.)
With Cardoso as its second-leading scorer, Syracuse earned an 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round. South Carolina, on the other hand, was a 1-seed, went to the Final Four and is poised to get even better.
The Gamecocks won the national championship in 2017 and have become a perennial power under Staley. Boston is a big reason for their recent success—she was a First Team AP All-American last season after averaging 13.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in the highly competitive SEC.
Next year in Columbia, Boston will bring her usual defense—she is a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year—and Cardoso will look to improve the team’s offense. She shot 57.6 percent from the field last year, which was 12th in the nation and much better than Boston’s 48.5 percent. But Cardoso was also Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC, sharing the award with Georgia Tech’s Lorela Cubaj, so she will contribute on both ends of the court.
As for Syracuse, Cardoso’s transfer is part of a trend, as 12 players entered the transfer portal this offseason.