High School Basketball

Hometown freshman standout picks up offer from Dawn Staley, Gamecocks

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley continues to set her sights on some of the up-and-coming talent in the Midlands.

Irmo High rising freshman Maliyiah Mason picked up an offer from the Gamecocks recently after attending an Elite Camp at USC. It was her first Division I offer.

“To me it means that hard work and dedication pay off,” Mason said of the USC offer. “In the long run, it just motivates me to go harder and push harder to accomplish all my dreams and goals.”

Mason plans to visit Virginia Tech this weekend.

She is part of a talented underclassmen group in the Columbia area that has picked up offers from the Gamecocks. USC also has offered Cardinal Newman sophomore Ashlyn Watkins; Keenan freshman Milaysia Fulwiley; and Camden freshman Joyce Edwards.

The 5-foot-9 Mason played in all 25 games this season for Irmo as an eighth-grader. She averaged 7.4 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.

Mason scored in double figures in her first high school game against Ridge View and twice had a career high 11 rebounds.

She played this summer from the Palmetto 76ers’ A’ja Wilson Elite AAU team.

“Maliyiah is a versatile player who can play inside out. Tremendous athlete, can run and jump, and is so strong physically,” Irmo coach Monica Williams said. “She can bury people in the post, and can hit a three point shot consistently. Only going to get better with experience.”