Kim Mulkey opens up on Angel Reese’s increased popularity with college career ending

If you want to catalog the accolades for LSU star Angel Reese, you better bring a big notebook, plenty of ink and the time to sit there and write for quite a while.

Reese has won just about everything you can win individually and as a teammate, coming off a national title win last season.

Her fame has grown to the point that she’s a widely recognizable figure, one of the most marketable college athletes out there, man or woman. She has an On3 NIL valuation of $1.7 million, good for seventh overall in the NIL100 (man or woman) and first in women’s college basketball.

Just about every day it seems she’s popping up on the cover of a new magazine. It adds a certain amount of pressure to perform.

“I don’t know about a magazine, I don’t keep up with all that,” coach Kim Mulkey said. “I can’t imagine that what she experienced with all that last year is any greater this year than it was last year. And I thought she handled it beautifully.”

Angel Reese has been on an absolute tear lately. She has recorded double-doubles in her last four games, including a 27-point, 19-rebound showing in a win over Alabama.

Over the last four games Reese is averaging 19.0 points and 15.8 rebounds. She’s done everything her coaches have asked of her, despite all the hoopla and the fame.

“Angel will do what Angel has to do,” Mulkey said. “If it’s score a lot of points she’s very willing to do that. If it’s get somebody else a shot and pass up a shot because she can and the game allows her to do that, she’ll do it.”

Reese doesn’t have that much longer left to play. The Tigers have five more regular season games remaining, then it’s on to the SEC Tournament and then eventually the NCAA Tournament.

Mulkey knows that can weigh on a player, so she’ll be watching Reese closely to see how she handles it.

“Her career is winding down in college and so you start counting probably in her mind how many more games I have in my college career,” Mulkey said. “And every game is maybe magnified more. I don’t know. I’m just answering based upon my experience and what a lot of seniors say, is that it’s a sense of urgency for me now.”

Next up for LSU and Angel Reese is a trip to College Station to take on Texas A&M. That game will be played on Monday night, with a tip at 7 ET and a broadcast on the SEC Network.

Kim Mulkey reacts to Baylor retiring Brittney Griner’s jersey 12, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey presents Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) with a basketball for one thousand career rebounds before the game against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears women’s basketball program will retire former star Brittney Griner’s No. 42 jersey number on Sunday when they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. But before the ceremony takes place at the Foster Pavilion Center in Waco, TX, LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey shared her thoughts on Griner’s jersey retirement.

Mulkey was Baylor’s head coach from 2000-2021 before returning home to Louisiana and accepting the Tigers’ head coaching position. Of her 22 years at the helm of the Bears program, four years were spent coaching Griner.

On Thursday, during the LSU women’s basketball press conference, Kim Mulkey shared her feelings on her former star player’s jersey retirement.

“I think it’s awesome. It’s awesome, and I’m sure it’ll be a great environment,” said Mulkey.

During Griner’s four-year stay at Baylor, she and Mulkey were able to compile an impressive 135-15 record. The duo was able to capture the 2012 women’s national championship with a perfect 40-0 record. That 40-0 national championship season was the first of its kind in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Mulkey finished 2012 earning AP, USBWA, WBCA, and Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

More on Griner

When the jersey retirement ceremony was announced, Griner also shared a few words about the upcoming event.

“I’m honored to return home to Baylor and celebrate where so much of my journey started,” Griner said. “I’m grateful to Coach Nicki (Collen) and the entire Baylor community and looking forward to the opportunity to be back on campus, spend time with the team and have my family beside me to share in this incredible moment. Sic ‘Em Bears.”

Griner, a native of Houston, TX The number one overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury after teaming up with Mulkey for an unprecedented run at Baylor. She finished her career as a four-time All-Big 12 First-Team member, multiple-time All-American, and earned national player of the year honors twice. She also holds the Big 12 women’s basketball record for most points scored (3,283), field goals made (1,247), free throws made (787) and attempted (1,054), blocks (748), to name a few of her accolades. Griner ultimately left Baylor as the most decorated women’s basketball player in the history of the program.

Griner’s jersey retirement ceremony will be held on February 18, 2024, ahead of the 3:00 PM tip-off between Baylor and Texas Tech.


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