Angel Reese hasn’t been playing; mom and fans speculate

Defending champions experience early-season turmoil
LSU forward Angel Reese posts up against South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston. (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

On the court, the 2023-24 season for the defending-champion LSU Tigers has been anything but smooth sailing. The team has won its last five games by 20 points or more, but all of those games have come respectfully against much less competitive teams. In the team’s only game against a ranked opponent, No. 20 Colorado, LSU lost by 14.

All eyes in the women’s college basketball world were on the team entering the season headlined by star returners Angel Reese and Flau’Jae Johnson to go along with Haley Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow, two of the most-sought after players in the transfer portal era, and top freshman recruit Mikaylah Williams. The team’s talent still shines through, with Williams, a freshman, scoring 42 points in a win over Kent State, but it’s obvious all the stars haven’t mastered the art of meshing together as a team through the first six games.

Off the court, the situation appears to be getting even more sticky.

In the Tigers’ game against Kent State, Reese did not play in the second half. When asked why after the game, coach Kim Mulkey declined to reveal a reason. On social media after the game, in screenshots posted by Deloris, a member of “The Committee,” a social-media based group focused on women’s basketball news, it appeared Reese’s mother took to her Instagram story to complain about text messages she’s received.

“Folks,” Reese’s mother posted. “Please do not send me long text messages with a bunch of grammatical errors. It gives me a headache. How do I know what you said if I can’t understand what you’re saying?”

Johnson’s mother then appeared to respond with a post of her own on her Instagram story.

“You definitely know about grammar errors when your daughter has a 2.0 or less GPA,” Johnson’s mother, Kia Brooks, posted. “And, in fact, when writing your smart message, you didn’t capitalize nor did you use any periods.

“Stop being petty, fake and hateful, and take responsibility for your daughter’s actions.”

Brooks also made another post about fake people. Shortly after Deloris posted the screenshots and the messages made their rounds online, the Instagram stories were deleted. Former LSU players Alexis Morris and Jasmine Carson also hinted that the public back-and-forth between the families of Johnson and Reese were bound to happen. Carson deleted her message about hinting at having information that could expose the program’s potential drama, while Morris cryptically posted about some one or somebodies switching up on her in favor of “marketing” or “politics.”

Reese currently has the No. 7 highest NIL ranking in the country among any college athlete, male or female, at a value of $1.7 million, according to On3. Johnson, who is also a rapper and has a distribution deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, is No. 20 on the list with a value of $1.1 million.

In LSU’s 73-50 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 17, Reese did not travel or play with the team. Mukey, once again, declined to comment on why she didn’t play, but said Reese is still a part of the program and hopes she can play again soon. Until that moment comes, fans are left with nothing but deleted, cryptic social media posts.

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