Kim Mulkey Explains Hailey Van Lith’s Decision To Transfer Out Of LSU After Disappointing End To NCAA Tournament

Kim Mulkey speaking to Hailey Van Lith
Kim Mulkey and Hailey Van Lith (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Hailey Van Lith is leaving LSU after a single season with the Tigers and will play her fifth year of eligibility elsewhere.

The guard is expected to reunite with Sam Purcell at Mississippi State but isn’t likely to rush the process as she has gone through the transfer portal before.

LSU head coach Kim Mulkey revealed this Friday that Van Lith will return to her natural position wherever she decides to suit up in 2024/25.

Mulkey claimed that the player “lived up to her commitment” of playing for LSU for a year. She revealed that Hailey was looking to enter the WNBA Draft this year but has opted to play college basketball for another year due to her stock dropping because of her positional change.

Her aspirations were to get drafted this year,” Mulkey said during an end-of-year banquet, per nola.com. “And she realized, “I need another year, and I need to get back to a place where I can relax and get back to my normal position.

Kim Mulkey discusses Hailey Van Lith’s entrance into the transfer portal:

“She realized, ‘I need another year, and I need to go back to a place where I can relax and get back to my normal position.’” — Women’s Hoops Network (@WomensHoops_USA) April 12, 2024

The former five-star recruit had agreed to a positional change at LSU as she wanted to take on the role of a traditional point guard as opposed to a primary scorer. However, things didn’t work out, and her struggles in the position were apparent.

Hailey Van Lith Experienced Career Lows At LSU

Still, Hailey Van Lith earned praise from Mulkey for stepping out of her comfort zone.

She had to embrace a change in her mindset of not shooting it 20-30 times a game, but finding who’s open and getting them the ball,” the coach added. “And sometimes it was hard because she would be pressured, and she’d be pounding the heck out of that ball.

Van Lith shot the ball a lot less in 2023, making seven fewer attempts per game at LSU than she did in her junior year at Louisville. She also averaged eight fewer points per game while her shooting percentage dropped to a career-low 38 percent.

Having learned how to be the primary ball-handler on her team, Van Lith can combine this ability with her scoring and take her stock back up next season. She will definitely be a player to watch.

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