'I didn't want to be basic': LSU's Angel Reese announces for WNBA draft via Vogue photo shoot.

On Wednesday, LSU star Angel Reese, famed for her eyelash extensions, painted fingernails, and fierce paint play, declared for the WNBA draft. She made the news two days after the Tigers lost to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.  

Model and fashion designer Reese announced her retirement in a Vogue picture session, stating she was inspired by Serena Williams' 2022 announcement. Reese publicly considered returning to LSU until the season ended. She said she decided to turn pro before March Madness. I adore doing large things, Reese told the magazine. “I wanted nothing basic.”  

“I’ve done everything I wanted to in college,” said Reese, who wants to play professionally in Europe during the WNBA offseason. I've won a national championship, been SEC Player of the Year, and All-American. To become a pro and the greatest basketball player ever is my dream. I feel prepared.”  

Clark, Indiana's predicted No. 1 choice, and Reese, a 6-foot-3 forward who can run the floor, guard the perimeter, and block shots anywhere, will likely be among the top players picked on April 15. Draft analysts expect Reese to go seventh or ninth. She departs college with few doubts about her game, including an undeveloped outside shot.  

Reese watched the Orlando Magic-New Orleans Pelicans game in New Orleans the night following the news. She watched with former LSU teammate Amani Bartlett, who gave Reese a crown during pregame introductions this season. The arena video board showed Reese, garnering applause.  

Baltimore native Reese started college at Maryland, where her brother Julian plays for the men's team. LSU earned their only national title in Reese's first season when she transferred in 2022. “She helped transform our program,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. We are indebted to Angel Reese for her efforts to this program, helping us achieve our first national championship, and to our university.”  

In two seasons, Reese had 61 double-doubles for the Tigers. Only Sylvia Fowles had more LSU double-doubles. At LSU, Reese averaged 20.9 points and 14.4 rebounds, including seven games with 20+. Reese became the first SEC player since Vanderbilt's Wendy Scholtens in 1989 and 1990 to lead in scoring and rebounds.  

This season, Reese was SEC Player of the Year. Reese played four college seasons but was awarded an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because to the COVID-19 pandemic. “She said she wanted to be here for two seasons and she has lived up to that,” Mulkey added. “What a remarkable two years.  

Mulkey said, “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 luck in the WNBA and look forward to her accomplishments.”

During LSU's championship run last year, Reese emerged as a brilliant basketball player and lively personality, engaging with fans and media off the court and trash criticizing her opponents on it. Reese says playing basketball with her brother and other boys in Baltimore made her physically and mentally tough on the court. Despite greater attention since winning the title, Reese stated she would remain “unapologetically me.”  

After Mulkey suspended her for four games before Thanksgiving, her LSU teammates, who called her “the queen,” supported her leadership and all she's been through, including a mental health hiatus.  

“Everybody can have their opinion on Angel Reese, but y’all don’t know her,” Flau’jae Johnson stated. “I see the real Angel Reese every day—strong, caring, loving. The crown she wears is hefty. She's the kind of colleague that inspires confidence.” Non-Elite Eight players had until Monday to forfeit their eligibility. Players like Reese in the Elite Eight or beyond had 48 hours to decide after their final game.  

In her final college game, Reese hurt her ankle in the second quarter against Iowa but still scored 17 points and grabbed 20 rebounds before fouling out in the final two minutes. Reese was one of the top collegiate NIL earners, worth $1.8 million, according to On3.com. Her sponsors include Coach, Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz. Many of those partnerships might become endorsements that professional athletes profit from.  

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