Joyce Edwards named 2022-23 MaxPreps Female National Athlete of the Year
South Carolina three-sport athlete is top-ranked basketball star who excels in classroom as well as soccer pitch, volleyball court.
Joyce Edwards set a goal heading into her junior year at Camden (S.C.) – the triple crown.
“She wanted to be all-state in three sports,” Charlie Edwards said of his daughter. “At first, we were like ‘OK, I can see basketball and soccer, but volleyball is kind of her fun sport.’ ”
Edwards, the MaxPreps National Junior of the Year in basketball who was recently named the top-ranked player in the Class of 2024, hit the trifecta with all-state honors in those three sports as well as leading the basketball team to a Class AAA state title.
Now, she has another jewel to add to the crown: MaxPreps Female National Athlete of the Year. She joins a long list of notables such as Paige Beuckers, two-time winner Alissa Pili, Olympian Missy Franklin and WNBA great Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
The athletic resume is impressive as is her work in the classroom, where Edwards carries a 5.04 grade point average. She has sights set on becoming an environmental engineer, following in the footsteps of her parents Charlie and Rasheedah.
“My parents are both engineers,” Joyce said. “I watched her (Rasheedah) in a lab as I was growing up and watching them both inspired me to go down the same path.”
And with the combination of athletics and academics, Joyce Edwards will get to choose her college from a handful she said she plans to whittle over the summer before committing in December.
Edwards shined on the hardwood for the Bulldogs, averaging 28.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. She dropped 33 in the title game as they went 29-2 and captured the banner one season removed from falling by two in the state final.
She led Camden volleyball in kills with 176 as the Bulldogs went 20-9 and reached the state quarterfinals. She also led the soccer team to a 19-2-1 mark, scoring a team-high 39 goals to go along with 12 assists. The team reached the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Waccamaw.
“I love Camden,” Edwards said. “It’s a small town and they all kind of watch after me and want what’s best for me.
“One of the best things about Camden is they’re open to me playing other sports. Both the volleyball and soccer coaches are understanding. They love me and let me do what I love.”
She’s been playing sports since she was four and said she was always out competing.
“Swimming, flag football, soccer, that’s just how I grew up,” she said. “I feel like playing different sports keeps me motivated. When it’s volleyball season, I miss basketball and when it’s soccer season I miss volleyball.
“Plus, I feel like playing different sports helps me avoid injuries.”
About the only thing she doesn’t do is juggle. But it takes a lot of juggling to maintain her academics, train and then excel at three sports.
“We’ve been doing it so long, it’s like a routine,” she said.
And this summer, Edwards adds her first international travel experience as a member of the USA Basketball U19 team playing in Spain in July. It was her third tryout for the national team and something Charlie Edwards said he’s proud she persevered through.
“I think she was frustrated (when she didn’t make it last year) and me and her mom talked about giving it another try,” he said. “I went with her for that extra support. I think it’s a lot more special for her.”
And while Charlie helps train Joyce, having to sometimes play the tough love role as well as the comforting paternal role, Rasheedah said she loves “being just mom.”
“I make sure she knows what a blessing all this is,” she said. “You have to put energy into what you do. I remind her ‘Let’s be grateful and look at all the things you did.’ ”