Inside Angel Reese’s WNBA draft workout with the trainer who bestowed her ‘Baltimore nickname’

Jimmy Price has been training the basketball star since she was an eighth grader

Angel Reese and Jimmy Price pose after a private pre-draft workout at Louisiana State. Price saw the star power in Reese long before she took the basketball world by storm. (Jimmy Price/Courtesy photo)

Angel Reese and Jimmy Price pose after a private pre-draft workout at Louisiana State. Price saw the star power in Reese long before she took the basketball world by storm. (Jimmy Price/Courtesy photo)

Price doubled down. He encouraged Reese to never waver from her girly side. “It’s gonna take you somewhere,” he advised, long before name, image and likeness was in anyone’s lexicon.

Pretty spot on.

Price runs a Baltimore-based basketball training company called ShotReadyElite and works on player development for St. Frances. Last week, he flew out to the Baton Rouge campus for a private predraft workout with Reese, who announced her decision to declare for Monday’s WNBA draft via a photoshoot with Vogue Magazine earlier this month.

Mock drafts predict her to go seventh overall to the Minnesota Lynx or eighth to the Chicago Sky. Either way, Price is eager to see Reese’s game translate to a level “The Big Ticket” has had on her mind since long before the fanfare of national recognition.

Price played basketball growing up near Reese’s mom, Angel Webb. He’s been friends with the family for 20-plus years. Webb leaned on Price as a trustworthy option to guide her basketball-obsessed kids, Angel and Julian, a junior forward at Maryland.

“She was a fierce competitor. She’s always been like that,” Price said. “Dawg been in her since she was born. This is nothing new.”

LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese practices during a non conference homecoming game between the Coppin State Eagles and the LSU Lady Tigers for St. Frances Academy Panthers alum and NCAA champion Angel Reese...(Karl Merton Ferron/Staff Photo)LSU forward Angel Reese warms up before a homecoming game against Coppin State in December. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

It was just the two Baltimoreans in this purple and yellow gym, 1,000 miles from home. Last Monday was a late-night gathering — 9:30 until around 11. Tuesday morning, they were in before the sun. For them, it felt no different than the countless 5 a.m. and after-school workouts at St. Frances. Or as Price calls it, the headquarters.

Reese told Vogue she’s ready to be humbled at the next level. So what is Price working on in a predraft workout to flatten that learning curve?

They drilled Reese’s mid-post, face-up game. One dribble pull-up jump shots and the “Jordan fadeaway or Kobe baseline fadeaway,” too. They addressed her first step on downhill drives, then finishing around the basket on putbacks.

Price says Reese’s second bounce is her gift, having led the nation with 5.5 offensive rebounds per game this past season.

Because of that specialty, Reese’s college game was often bound to the court’s restricted area. There were enough guards around her at LSU — Flau’jae Johnson, Hailey Van Lith and Last-Tear Poa — that she could focus on governing the interior. That hid other parts of her game, Price said.

“She’s gonna be a stretch-four in the league,” he predicted. “She’s been playing out of position the last few years. Now, the fans will see her total game.”

Reese is as online as any high-profile athlete. It’s a major part of her ever-growing brand, which includes sponsorships with Reebok, Sports Illustrated and more. But when it comes to her training, Price said “everything is behind the scenes.” The work is sacred.

That’s his philosophy — with her and each of his players, including NBA veteran Rudy Gay (Archbishop Spalding) and Penn State senior Ace Baldwin (St. Frances).

True to the name ShotReadyElite, Price allocated considerable time to Reese’s jumper. In fact, he’s the architect behind her release.

ALBANY, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers shoots the ball during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Angel Reese is naturally right-handed but learned to shoot lefty after her trainer noticed her right arm was double-jointed. (Andy Lyons/Getty)
Reese is naturally right-handed but shoots lefty.

In 10th grade, Price noticed her right arm was double-jointed. Reese couldn’t get her elbow all the way tucked in. So, with the blessing of her St. Frances coaches, the shot doctor switched Reese’s jump shot to her left hand and started the process from scratch.

“When you transfer from one arm to the other, you have to build that muscle up,” Price said. “Thousands and thousands of shots. It’s still a work in progress. So she puts up shots daily. You wouldn’t even realize if I didn’t tell you.”

The transformation started with one of Price’s favorite form-shooting drills.

They set up a chair two feet in front of the basket. Reese sits down, ball in hand, and rises up into her shot. They make note of every motion. It ensures her base is solid, lifting out of her lower body. They work on getting her hips deeper so she can train jumping off her toes and reach a higher release point. Price watches to be sure her left thumb is parallel to her eye and her elbow tucks properly.

Reese starts at the free throw line and after a series of made attempts, incrementally slides the chair out past the 3-point line, firing the deep ball up out of a chair.

Fixing a jump shot from square one is uncommon work. Switching hands is practically unheard of. But Price knows Reese’s game as well as anyone. He was in the gym with her all the way through high school. He was at Maryland at least three days a week for her. And they worked together periodically while she was at LSU.

“Angel is still Angel to me,” he said. “It’s more than training with her. I’m like her big homie or father figure. Mentor type where she really respects me. She’s listened to everything I’ve told her this far.”

Reese, in part, is a product of what Price saw nearly a decade ago. He put her in all-boys workouts in which no fouls are called and took a risk in switching her shooting hand. He saw back then what the world has come to realize.

“She’s ready for the next level,” Price said. “She’s ready for the challenge because she knows she’s one of them now. And she’s been preparing for that since the eighth grade.”

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