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LSU star Angel Reese declares for this month’s WNBA draft

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LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese declared herself a candidate for the WNBA draft in a Vogue magazine article. The three-time American star shared her plans with the fashion outlet in March and the interview published on Wednesday.

“I did everything I wanted to do in college,” Reese said. “I won a national championship, I was named (Southeastern Conference) Player of the Year, I was an All-American. My ultimate goal is to become a pro – and be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I feel like I’m ready.

Reese spent two seasons at LSU, where she led the program to its first championship, defeating Iowa in last April’s final. His college career ended Monday with a loss to the Hawkeyes in this year’s Elite Eight.

The Baltimore native played her first two seasons at Maryland, where she was the highest-rated recruit in program history and earned All-American honors after her sophomore season. In 2022, she transferred to LSU, where her stardom transcended college basketball.

Fans nicknamed Reese “Bayou Barbie,” a nod to her on-court style and fashion sense. She quickly became one of the highest-earning athletes of the NIL (name, image, likeness) era, signing deals with Beats by Dre, Airbnb, Mercedes-Benz, and Goldman Sachs, among others, and attracting more than 5 millions of followers between her. TikTok and Instagram accounts.

Reese’s actions went viral after last year’s championship match, during which she pointed her ring finger and made professional wrestler John Cena’s “you can’t see me” gesture towards the star. Iowa Caitlin Clark in the final moments. Her taunts ignited a firestorm online, and she later defended her actions, noting that Clark had made similar gestures towards his opponents in previous matches.

After winning the 2023 title, Reese was featured on “Saturday Night Live,” featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and made an appearance in the music video for Cardi B and Lotto’s song “Put It on Da Floor Again.”

“Of course, I like to do everything big. I didn’t want anything to be basic,” the 21-year-old told Vogue, adding that her choice to announce her draft intentions to the publication was inspired by tennis legend Serena Williams’ decision to announce his retirement in a 2022 issue of the magazine.

LSU entered this season with high expectations with Reese returning and having reloaded into the transfer portal. But the team was upset in its season opener against Colorado.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey benched Reese midway through a Nov. 14 game against Kent State for undisclosed reasons she would later describe as “locker room issues.” Reese joined the team after four games and led the Tigers past No. 9 Virginia Tech. After the match, she told reporters: “Taking time for yourself is really important. I just felt like it was something important, to reset and refocus the team. I’m just happy to be back and this place was amazing tonight. I’m just happy to be here with them.

Reese averaged a double-double and earned Associated Press All-American honors each of the last three seasons. The 6-foot-3 forward scored a team-high 18.6 points per game this season, and her 13.4 rebounds per game were second in the nation. His 17-point, 20-rebound performance in Monday’s loss to Iowa was his 27th double-double this season.

After the loss, Reese and Clark greeted each other and shared a brief hug. In his post-match comments, Reese told reporters: “I’ve been through so much, I’ve seen so much, I’ve been attacked so many times. Death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve done so many things and I stood my ground every time. I just try to defend my teammates because I don’t want them to see me badly and not be there for them.

Reese joins Clark, Stanford’s Cameron Brink, Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso among the top players in the April 15 draft. She is part of the projected top 10.

“I’m going to work with women who have children, women who have families to support,” Reese said of the WNBA. “I’m going to have to work hard every day and work hard. And who wouldn’t want that? I don’t want anything in my life to be easy.

“I want to start from the bottom again. I want to become a rookie again and rebuild myself; I want to be knocked down, learn and grow to the next level.

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