USC Women's Basketball

South Carolina may get the last word with this elite transfer before her decision

South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson (22) fends off Texas A&M’s Anriel Howard (5) during the first half of action in the Colonial Life Arena. 12/31/17
South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson (22) fends off Texas A&M’s Anriel Howard (5) during the first half of action in the Colonial Life Arena. 12/31/17 tglantz@thestate.com

The second recruiting cycle of one of the best transfers available in women's college basketball is winding to a close, and South Carolina might have the final word in it.

In early April, it was reported that former Texas A&M player Anriel Howard, who was second in the SEC last season in rebounds per game and averaged a double-double for the Aggies, was exploring a potential transfer and would be eligible to play right away after graduating in three years.

Howard's mother, Che, told The State on April 5 that South Carolina, who had recruited the 5-foot-11 forward in high school, was one of five finalists for her services. Subsequent reports from the New Haven Register and 247Sports conflicted on whether USC was on Howard's list of five official visits.

On Tuesday, Che Howard told The State her daughter will visit the Gamecocks this upcoming weekend, starting Thursday. It will be her fourth official visit, and potentially her last.

"That will be her fourth visit. I think Anriel is ready to make a decision after that," Che Howard said. "I'm pretty sure she's going to make a decision after this. She's saying she doesn't want to take a fifth visit and she just wants to concentrate on her upcoming finals in a few weeks."

Don't necessarily expect a decision next week though, Howard said. Because Anriel Howard only has one year left in her collegiate career, the pressure is on to make sure her second school is the best one for her. Che Howard has also said Anriel Howard wants to attend a school with a good school of communications, her major at A&M.

"Anyone that's been in recruiting knows it's a tedious process. You're grateful to have the opportunity, but it's definitely an exhausting process ... and as with Anriel, we don't have four years. We have one year to get it right, so it's even a little bit harder than coming out of high school," Che Howard said.

South Carolina enters the 2018-2019 season facing the daunting task of replacing national player of the year A'ja Wilson in the frontcourt. Coach Dawn Staley currently has six forwards on her roster, though four are underclassmen and Alexis Jennings has yet to officially confirm she will be back for her redshirt senior season.

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