Why did Angel Reese transfer to LSU? Tigers star began college basketball career at Maryland

Why did Angel Reese transfer to LSU?

Tigers star began college basketball career at Maryland

Over the course of her college basketball career, Angel Reese has become one of the most accomplished and recognizable figures in her sport.

Last season, whatever level of fame she previously possessed skyrocketed into a different realm after she helped guide LSU to its first-ever national championship, won Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four and had a breathlessly discussed encounter with Iowa star Caitlin Clark in the NCAA title game.

This season, with the Tigers ranked in the top 10 and looking to defend their championship, Reese has remained at the forefront of a sport that has enjoyed increasing popularity.

For as much as her achievements have tethered her to LSU and made her a legendary figure in the program’s history, Reese actually began her college career hundreds of miles away from Baton Rouge.

Here’s everything you need to know about Reese, her career, and how she ended up with coach Kim Mulkey and the Tigers:

Why did Angel Reese transfer to LSU from Maryland?

A Baltimore native, Reese began her college career in her home state, spending her freshman and sophomore seasons at Maryland.

She excelled there, helping guide the Terrapins to back-to-back Sweet 16s. During the second of those runs, she led the team in scoring and rebounding while earning first-team all-Big Ten honors.

Following her sophomore season, however, she transferred as part of an eventful offseason in which Maryland lost its top two scorers. At first glance, it seemed like an odd move: Reese was playing close to home, was the team’s best player as only a sophomore and was part of a successful Terrapins program, one that went 49-12 in her two seasons there.

As Reese explained it, though, she was looking for a change of scenery.

“I wanted more for myself,” Reese said to Lyndsey D’Arcangelo of Just Women’s Sports in 2023.

“I knew that I wanted to develop into that stretch-four player, so being able to do that and play under a coach that could help me get to that level — because I know I’m not gonna play the five at the next level.

I know I’m not gonna be sitting down in the post. I mean, there are way bigger players than me in the WNBA, so I know that I would have to play that stretch-four position.”

Upon entering the transfer portal, Reese was eyeing a move to the SEC — just not at the school she ultimately chose. Reese scheduled visits to South Carolina and Tennessee. As she described it to CBS Sports in April 2023, “LSU wasn’t even in the question.”

That soon changed. As she searched for her next home, Reese got in touch with Kateri Poole, whom she had known going back to their days in high school. Poole was also in the portal, having transferred from Ohio State, and suggested they take a visit to LSU together.

Once there, she discovered a match: She was impressed by the program’s trajectory, with the Tigers going 26-6 in Mulkey’s first season after finishing just 9-13 the season prior to her hiring.

She was heartened by the support she saw women’s teams at LSU receive. Mulkey made a strong impression, both through her history of developing post players and bigger guards, as well as her personality.

“She’s gonna keep it real with me,” Reese said to Just Women’s Sports. “She’s never told me a lie.

She’s always kept it real with me. That’s something that I love. She’s really, really competitive. Like, super competitive.”

Put together, it was more than enough to win her over.

“When I took the visit, I fell completely in love and canceled all my other visits,” Reese said. “I guess it was just God telling me the direction I needed, and I needed Kateri to tell me, ‘This is where you need to be.”

Angel Reese high school

Reese was a star at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, which she led to three straight state championships, along with two conference titles.

During her high school career, she averaged 18 points, five assists and an astonishing 20 rebounds per game.

She was named the player of the year by the Baltimore Sun as a junior and senior, a first-team all-American by USA TODAY as a senior and was a McDonald’s All-American in 2020.

Angel Reese recruit ranking

When Maryland signed Reese, it got not only a top player from the state, but one of the most coveted prospects in the country.

Reese was a five-star recruit in the 2020 class, with ESPN ranking her as the No. 2 player overall and the No. 1 wing.

She chose the Terrapins over a slew of other suitors, including South Carolina, Tennessee, USC and Syracuse.

Angel Reese stats

Here’s a look at Reese’s year-by-year production over her college career, at both LSU and Maryland:

2020-21: 10.0 points per game (46.7% field goal percentage), 6.0 rebounds per game
2021-22: 17.8 ppg (50%), 10.6 rpg
2022-23: 23.0 ppg (52.5%), 15.4 rpg
2023-24: 19.0 ppg (49.1%), 13.1 rpg

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