CLEVELAND — Angel Reese is not at the Final Four at Rocket Mortgage Arena. Her season, and college career, ended Monday with an Elite Eight loss to Iowa when Caitlin Clark dropped 41 points on the LSU Tigers in Albany, New York.

However, with the WNBA draft less than two weeks away — and with Reese declaring for it Wednesday with a glamorous photo shoot and detailed profile in Vogue — people here are talking about her. They’re wondering about her future, when she’ll be drafted and by what team, how she’ll fit in to the 12-team league, and what she needs to do to expand her game.

Reese had another year of eligibility remaining due to the NCAA’s COVID-era rule that the 2020-21 season didn’t count toward a player’s eligibility clock. That she is forgoing it to enter the draft is good news for the WNBA, ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo said.

“She, of course, is going to bring viewers. She’s got a huge following,” Lobo told The Baltimore Banner. “She’s such a lightning rod for interest in women’s basketball.”

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Lobo, a longtime ESPN analyst who won a national championship with UConn in 1995 and an Olympic gold medal in 1996, was a WNBA All-Star in 1999 for the New York Liberty. She said the skill that is immediately transferrable from college to the pros is rebounding. And that’s good news, considering the Randallstown native and Saint Frances Academy graduates is one of the best rebounders in the college game.

Reese averaged 14.4 rebounds per game over two seasons at LSU. That mark, according to Sports Reference, is the best in the history of the Southeastern Conference. Her 1,426 total rebounds, which include the two seasons she spent at Maryland, rank 16th all time in Division I women’s college basketball.

“She’s a relentless rebounder, especially on the offensive end,” said Lobo, a Basketball Hall of Fame member. “The thing that separates her from others, certainly, is what she can do on the glass.”

Fellow ESPN analyst Carolyn Peck agrees.

“She’s a tremendous rebounder. We’ve seen her do that over the last two seasons down at LSU,” Peck said. “And she has a motor when it comes to rebounding that you can’t teach.”

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Peck said that which team drafts Reese and who coaches her will be crucial. After coaching Purdue to a national championship in 1999, Peck coached the WNBA’s now-defunct Orlando Miracle for three seasons.

For Peck, team fit is of the utmost importance when it comes to Reese’s success.

“I think you got to look at, not what number she’s drafted at, but where she goes. She’s got to go to a team that needs her. So often we get caught up in, ‘Well, if Angel Reese doesn’t go in the top four, she doesn’t belong in the league,’ and that’s not the case,” Peck says. “She’s got to be put on a team where she can develop. Where she’ll go, I don’t know, but it needs to be on a team that needs a motor post player.”

And, as Reese develops as a pro, there’s one area that most folks around the league agree she needs to improve on.

Shooting, both outside of the paint and, eventually, from beyond the 3-point arc.

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“That is definitely an area where — even just like, footwork-wise, form-wise, release-wise — it isn’t something like looks incredibly comfortable,” said ESPN’s Andraya Carter, who played at Tennessee. “So getting to that point where she is comfortable and confident in taking those shots when she has to, finding balance and making the defense pick and choose how they guard her, will just make her a bigger threat at the next level.”

Reese can improve by adding a more reliable shot from distance, experts say. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Added Lobo: “She’s shown what she can do in the painted area. That would be the next step for her, to get a consistent and good-looking jumper from the perimeter.”

It’s been extremely rare for Reese to take — much less make — 3-pointers. For her career, she’s 5-of-32, a 15.6% clip.

Part of the reason was that she was so effective at scoring in the paint around the rim, and she had two coaches in Maryland’s Brenda Frese and LSU’s Kim Mulkey who emphasized scoring inside and empowered Reese to use those skills. But many of the great post players in the WNBA are bigger than Reese, who is 6-foot-3, and a lot of them — from A’ja Wilson to Breanna Stewart — can make a 3-pointer with consistency.

Peck, having covered countless LSU games for ESPN and the SEC Network over the past two seasons, has seen Reese make 3-pointers with some regularity in warmups and practice.

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“Remember, when Angel first came out of high school, she was one of the top wing players in the country,” Peck said. “I’ve watched her workouts of shooting the ball, facing up. … When you look at Kim Mulkey’s teams, they’ve never been 3-point-shooting teams. When she gets into the league, she can shoot that shot more consistently and develop being a face-up threat.”

Peck said Reese will get a chance to shine in the WNBA not because of what shows up on the stat sheet or a specific skill. Reese possesses something hard to find among WNBA rookies.

“She brings a tough mentality that a lot of college basketball players don’t come in with,” Peck said. “I think that in and of itself will get her a spot in our league.”

It’s also about winning, Carter added, and Reese piled up a lot of victories in college. Her teams went 114-20, and she leaves college with a Big Ten title and a national championship to her name.

“I was talking to a WNBA [general manager], and the one thing this person said was, ‘She’s a winner.’ She’s a winner. She’s a competitor,” Carter said. “And there’s something to be said for that.”

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