Canada Markets open in 2 hrs 46 mins

Five-star in-state recruit picks South Carolina, becomes Staley’s first 2022 commit

·2 min read

Talaysia Cooper has flown into the nest.

Cooper, the nation’s No. 18 prospect in the class of 2022 according to espnW, announced her commitment to the South Carolina women’s basketball program Saturday afternoon. She’s the first to commit to head coach Dawn Staley’s 2022 class.

“A birdie just flew in the nest,” Staley posted to Twitter on Friday evening, a likely indication that Cooper told the Gamecocks of her impending public commitment to USC.

The 6-foot-0 swing player from East Clarendon High School released her final seven back in July, which included the Gamecocks, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Duke and Ole Miss. In August, she narrowed the list down to four — South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State.

Cooper was last year’s South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, averaging 23.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4.6 blocks and 2.2 steals per game as a junior. She led East Clarendon to a 10-1 record and the Class A state tournament in the 2020-21 season.

An espnW five-star prospect, Cooper has already scored 2,446 points in her high school career and was also named the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association’s Class A Player of the Year last season.

South Carolina first offered Cooper in summer 2017, just before she went into eighth grade. She becomes Staley’s first in-state commitment since Olivia Thompson (junior, Lexington) and senior Elysa Wesolek (senior, Charleston).

Another 2022 Gamecocks target, 6-foot-3 center Ashlyn Watkins from Columbia’s Cardinal Newman School, is down to South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi State and Kentucky. Her mother told The State in August that Watkins will announce her decision in November.

Janiah Barker, a 6-foot-3 forward from Florida’s Montverde Academy, committed to Georgia this week over an offer from South Carolina.

Staley Gamecocks brought in the No. 1 recruiting class for 2021, return every member of the Final Four team from last season and added last year’s ACC Freshman and Co-Defender of the Year Kamilla Cardoso from Syracuse.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting