What's Next For Hailey Van Lith? Will She Return To LSU?

Van Lith's future remains a question. Will she return to LSU or begin her professional journey?
Apr 1, 2024; Albany, NY, USA; LSU Lady Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith (11) reacts in the second
Apr 1, 2024; Albany, NY, USA; LSU Lady Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith (11) reacts in the second / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

LSU guard Hailey Van Lith's future is in question while she remains mum on what the next chapter of her basketball career will be.

The Louisville transfer, who has played four years of college ball, just wrapped up her lone season in Baton Rouge with the next piece of her playing career uncertain.

Van Lith has three options:

1. Return to LSU

2. Enter the NCAA Transfer Portal

3. Enter the 2024 WNBA Draft

LSU players had 48 hours following the loss to Iowa to enter their name into the draft. For Van Lith, the window has now passed, but she could have entered her name without making a public announcement.

We saw All-American forward Angel Reese make her announcement, but Van Lith's camp remains quiet on the next step of her playing career.

It's no secret Van Lith's time in Baton Rouge didn't go according to plan from a performance perspective. She began playing a new position as a true point guard and the transition wasn't as smooth as hoped.

Now, with a COVID year of eligibility in her back pocket, she can either return to LSU under Kim Mulkey and continue adapting to a new position, or enter the NCAA Transfer Portal if she so chooses.

Of course, entering the WNBA Draft is also in the cards for the elite bucket-getter who is more than confident in her game translating at the next level.

Another key component will be her role in the NIL space. Van Lith has become the face of the Adidas women's basketball campaign along with inking several NIL deals during her college career, but like former LSU star Angel Reese, she believes her brand will follow her wherever she goes.

“You have to kind of look at what type of player you are,” Van Lith said. “There’s some people that have to capitalize in college because they’re not a pro-type player. They’re likability is going to stay in college. And I think for me, that’s not the case. I’m a pro-type player. The deals will follow, like Angel said. The one downfall is visibility. And the amount of times we play on ESPN and ABC and all these major television channels, that becomes a lot less when you go to the WNBA where it’s at right now. You’re not going to be in the media as much, but from a brand aspect, as long as you do what you need to do and keep up that part of your life, then brands, they’re going to follow you when you go to the league.”

For Mulkey, she will allow Van Lith to make the decision on her own. Though she would like to have her starting point guard return to her program, it's a decision that she will have to make with her camp.

Here's what Mulkey said after the Tigers dropped their Elite Eight matchup to Iowa on Monday:

“I hope it’s not her last game. But if it is, I’m proud to have been her coach for a year,” Mulkey said of Van Lith. “Hailey Van Lith came to LSU after being an abundant shooter. Shot it a lot at Louisville. Had great success. Was on good teams. She graduated in three years with a finance degree. She wanted to experience all the things I guess she saw from afar with our championship last year. For her to take that leap of faith and leave her comfort zone at Louisville, you don’t see many players do that when she was that big a piece to their puzzle. She has embraced learning a new position, taking less shots. Our last game against UCLA, I thought [Van Lith’s] stats were very good, but I’m an old point guard, and I see all that.

“I am forever indebted to Haley and her unselfish play to come to LSU to play with a lot of great players and learn a new position.”

Now, all eyes remain on Van Lith as a decision awaits. Will she remain in college or will she elect to begin her professional journey and enter the WNBA Draft?


Published
Zack Nagy

ZACK NAGY

Zack Nagy is the Managing Editor and Publisher of LSU Country, a Sports Illustrated Publication. Nagy has covered Tiger Football, Basketball, Baseball and Recruiting, looking to keep readers updated on anything and everything involving LSU athletics.