Angel Reese decides to turn pro, will leave LSU for WNBA draft

Angel Reese

Angel Reese, the star forward who led LSU to the NCAA Women’s Tournament Elite 8 this year and a national title in 2023, has decided to turn pro.

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Reese announced on Wednesday that she will enter the 2024 WNBA draft, ESPN reported.

In a story published by Vogue on Wednesday, Reese, named the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year last month, said it was time to take her game to the next level. Reese broke the news with a fashion shoot in the magazine, a move she said was inspired by Serena Williams. The tennis great announced her retirement in a photo shoot with Vogue in September 2022.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to in college,” Reese told Vogue about her decision. “I’ve won a national championship, I’ve gotten (SEC) Player of the Year, I’ve been an All-American. My ultimate goal is to be a pro — and to be one of the greatest basketball players to play, ever. I feel like I’m ready.”

Reese transferred to LSU from the University of Maryland in 2022. She was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four in 2023 and is a two-time All-American selection, The Advocate reported.

In Monday’s Elite 8 game against Iowa, Reese scored 17 points in the Tigers’ 94-87 loss to the Hawkeyes. She added 20 rebounds, three blocks and two steals, but fouled out with 1:45 to play.

The game was a much-anticipated rematch of last season’s title game and set a record for viewership for a college women’s basketball game.

As a junior, the 6-foot, 3-inch Reese set an NCAA record with 34 double-doubles.

She earned the nickname “Bayou Barbie” from fans, a nod to her signature long eyelashes, hairstyle and love of fashion, according to Vogue.

“I want to start at the bottom again,” Reese told the magazine. “I want to be a rookie again and build myself back up. I want to be knocked down and learn and grow at the next level.”

Reese averaged 20.9 points and 14.4 rebounds per game and shot 50% from the field during her 69 games with the Tigers, according to The Advocate. She is one of only five LSU players to score more than 2,000 career points and one of three to collect 1,400 career rebounds, the newspaper reported.

“Angel transferred to LSU after my first season in Baton Rouge and she helped transform our program,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said in a statement. “When she came here, she said she wanted to be here for two seasons and she has lived up to that. What a remarkable two years it has been. We are all indebted to Angel Reese for the contributions she has given to this program, helping us win our first national championship, and the contributions she made on our university as a whole. She not only helped grow our program but had an impact on growing the game of women’s basketball across the country.

“We wish her good luck as she moves to the WNBA and look forward to see all that she accomplishes. We will miss her but will always cherish the two years we got to spend with her. Forever LSU.”

Reese said she expects pro basketball to be very competitive and looks forward to the challenge.

“I’ll be working with grown women,” Reese told Vogue. “I’ll be working with women that have kids, women that have a family to feed. I’m going to have to work my butt off every single day and grind. And who wouldn’t want that? I don’t want anything in my life to be easy.”

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