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WNBA insiders and the Angel Reese quandary

Katie Barnes, ESPN.comApr 3, 2024, 05:29 PM ET Close Katie Barnes is a writer/reporter for ESPN.com. Follow them on Twitter at Katie_Barnes3. Angel Reese is a national champion, the SEC Player of the Year and the most outstanding player of the 2023 Final Four. As of Wednesday, she’s also a WNBA draft prospect who has

WNBA insiders and the Angel Reese quandary

  • Katie Barnes, ESPN.comApr 3, 2024, 05:29 PM ET

    Close

      Katie Barnes is a author/reporter for ESPN.com. Observe them on Twitter at Katie_Barnes3.

Angel Reese is a nationwide champion, the SEC Participant of the Yr and essentially the most excellent participant of the 2023 Last 4. As of Wednesday, she’s additionally a WNBA draft prospect who has an intriguing mix of upside and draw back, WNBA common managers and scouts say.

The celebrity and her LSU Tigers have been denied a title protection within the Elite Eight on Monday with a 94-87 loss to Iowa. Two days later, in an article in Vogue, she introduced her choice to maneuver on to the WNBA.

Reese, who has 6 million mixed followers on social media, will definitely convey new followers to the seats at her subsequent residence. Her on-court affect is the place WNBA insiders are a bit torn.

First, there may be the great. Reese is extremely athletic. She’s a rebounding power. She averaged 13.4 rebounds per recreation throughout her last season at LSU along with 18.6 factors. She posted double-doubles in 27 of the 33 video games she performed this season.

“She simply has a relentless aggressive spirit,” one WNBA evaluator mentioned. “She was impacting the successful. There’s loads there, and I believe she’s positively a WNBA athlete.”

When Reese is down low, she excels, even when her ending type is what one evaluator described as “unorthodox.”

“She’s simply lethal within the paint,” a WNBA common supervisor mentioned. “She’s additionally very efficient even when she’s received a much bigger participant on her as a result of she will be able to go round them due to her athleticism and her quickness. She would not thoughts getting hit. She will get hit and end with two individuals hanging on her.”

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For an additional WNBA insider, it is intangibles that would make her a future star.

“She does what she does,” the final supervisor mentioned. “She’s an incredible rebounder. She will get to the free throw line. She has a excessive IQ and might affect your protection.”

Reese, who’s 6-foot-3, has confirmed she will be able to guard a wide range of positions, together with gamers greater than she is. At LSU she was tasked with guarding 6-7 Kamilla Cardoso from South Carolina and 6-7 Lauren Betts from UCLA. She held her personal, demonstrating her energy and size even whereas giving up dimension to greater facilities.

“She’s what I’d name a two-way participant,” a common supervisor mentioned. “She’s going to defend on one finish, she’s going to rebound on each ends and he or she’s going to attain.”

Reese has named A’ja Wilson and Candace Parker as two of her major basketball influences. You may see that in her single-leg sleeve on the courtroom, a development began by Wilson, and her willingness to place the ball on the ground on the quick break like Parker. She’s an above-average passer and ball handler at her place.

Probably the most obvious space for improvement is Reese’s potential to shoot exterior the paint. Although she performed middle this season at LSU, Reese is undersized at that place within the WNBA. Many facilities are 6-5 or taller; simply have a look at 6-9 Brittney Griner or 6-7 Teaira McCowan or 6-7 Cardoso. Reese is more likely to seek out her place as an influence ahead within the WNBA. From Breanna Stewart to Wilson to Parker to legends like Lauren Jackson, energy forwards within the WNBA (and more and more facilities) usually shoot from the perimeter.

“I want she had extra vary on her shot,” a common supervisor mentioned. “I believe that is one thing that she wants so as to add.”

“I might prefer to see her evolve her recreation exterior of 10 ft,” one other evaluator mentioned. “If she’s going to play the 4 on the professional stage, I believe she’s started working on her free throws and her exterior shot.”

This isn’t new info for Reese. She did look to take jumpers at totally different factors this season. However she shot simply 1-for-9 from past the arc and made 72.6% of her free throw makes an attempt. In her last recreation at LSU, she shot 33.3% from the sphere (7-of-21) and 37.5% (3-of-8) from the free throw line.

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Taking part in exterior the paint wasn’t one thing LSU wanted her to do. The Tigers’ greatest probability of successful usually concerned Reese on the block, going to work or cleansing up the glass. If she was exterior the paint, it was laborious for her to do what her staff wanted to do to win.

Along with the ball expertise, some insiders have questions in regards to the causes for her four-game absence this season and her bodily type of play. Within the SEC championship recreation towards South Carolina, for instance, Reese pulled Cardoso’s hair and elbowed her within the face.

“A number of the stuff she does is disrespectful to the sport,” a common supervisor mentioned.

Reese is aware of she’ll must put within the work. She’ll have to be within the gymnasium. Professional gamers get higher on a regular basis, including new expertise and bettering previous ones. WNBA brass needs to see that fireplace from Reese.

“Now, what I wish to study is what actually is her work ethic?” one WNBA coach mentioned.

Reese expects her subsequent chapter to be laborious.

“I will be working with grown girls,” she said to Vogue. “I will be working with girls which have children, girls which have a household to feed. I will must work my butt off each single day and grind. And who would not need that? I do not need something in my life to be simple.”

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