“Of course, I like to do everything big,” LSU star Angel Reese declares for WNBA draft with Vogue photo shoot

LSU basketball star Angel Reese formally declared for the WNBA draft on Wednesday.

LSU basketball star Angel Reese formally declared for the WNBA draft on Wednesday. Photograph: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports

Angel Reese, the LSU basketball star known as the Bayou Barbie, has formally declared for the WNBA draft less than two days after the Tigers’ season ended with a loss to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

The 21-year-old forward, who shared her decision in an exclusive to Vogue published Wednesday and paired with a glossy photo shoot, will forgo her senior season at the Baton Rouge school to make the leap into the professional ranks along with Clark, who declared for the draft in February.

Reese said her decision to reveal her plans through the fashion bible was inspired by Serena Williams retiring in similar fashion in 2022. Reese acknowledged having made her decision to turn pro before March Madness began.

“Of course, I like to do everything big,” Reese told the magazine. “I didn’t want anything to be basic.”

“I’ve done everything I wanted to in college,” Reese added. “I’ve won a national championship, I’ve gotten [Southeastern Conference] 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.”

Angel Reese in Vogue, photographed by Myles Loftin and styled by Naomi Elizée.

Reese is projected to be selected in the first round of the draft that will held on 15 April at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Clark is widely expected to be chosen with the first overall pick by the Indiana Fever. Draft analysts have projected Reese as a seventh or eighth overall choice. An undeveloped outside shot is among the few questions about her game as she turns pro.

Reese grew up in Baltimore and began her college career at Maryland, where her brother, Julian, plays for the men’s team. She transferred to LSU in 2022 and the Tigers won the program’s only national title in Reese’s first season. A two-time member of the All-American first team, she was named the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s NCAA tournament after leading the Tigers over Iowa in the final.

“She helped transform our program,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. “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.”

After LSU’s title defense was thwarted on Monday in an eagerly anticipated rematch with the Hawkeyes, Reese spoke at length about the pressures she’s faced since rocketing to national fame a year ago.

“I’ve been attacked so many times, death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been so many things, and I’ve stood strong every single time,” Reese said during a postgame press conference. “I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to see me down and not be there for them. All this has happened since I won the national championship. It sucks, but I still wouldn’t change.

Angel Reese is yet to decide on her future

 

“The little girls that look up to me, hopefully I give them some type of inspiration – keep waking up every day, keep being motivated, staying who you are, stand 10 toes, don’t back down, and just be confident.”

Players not competing in the Elite Eight had until Monday to renounce their remaining eligibility. Players like Reese, who were competing in the Elite Eight or beyond, had about 48 hours after their final game to make their decision.

Reese has likely been weighing the pros and cons of turning pro for some time and that surely includes evaluating the finances.

The 6ft 3in star is one of the top NIL earners in college with a valuation of $1.8m according to On3.com. Many of those deals would turn to endorsements when she joins the WNBA.

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