Angel Reese was recently projected to be a No. 8 pick in WNBA Draft projections made by ESPN. She is using this as a motivator as she heads into her senior year at LSU.

“That was an insult to her. We talked about the things she needs to work on. Whether she gets picked higher than that or not, it still motivates her,” coach Kim Mulkey said in the first news conference of the season, according to The Daily Advertiser. “She gets motivated in practice with someone going head-to-head with her or talking trash back at her. She’s a competitor. I think she wants to be a good leader.”

Reese helped her teammates secure a championship victory this past year as team captain of the LSU Tigers. The win launched her career in the public eye and has made her one of the top college athletes to watch. Mulkey says this experience has made her a better leader for the team.

“Last year, she was learning as she went along in a leadership role. Because of that experience, I think now she may be a better leader. She’s a special talent,” she added.

Reese is now getting ready for the season opener in Las Vegas against Colorado on Nov. 6. She is back to her regular college athlete schedule after spending the offseason doing photoshoots, making media appearances, raking up NIL deals and starting her own foundation.

“When I sat down with Angel and talked with her about her summer. And then we talked about her being here. She said, ‘Coach, I’m tired. I’m so glad to be back. I’m ready to play basketball,’” Mulkey said.

Reese was recently named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 21.3 points and 15.2 rebounds over six games, according to On3. She leads college women’s basketball NIL ranking with an annual valuation of $1.7 million. Reese has secured deals with brands such as Coach, Discord, Mielle Organics, Xfinity and McDonald’s.

She is looking forward to leading the LSU Tigers in her final year, Reese told Glamour as she was selected as one of the magazine’s 2023 College Women of the Year.

“This is my senior year, and I have the opportunity to declare for the WNBA this year if I choose to. So my main focus is being a positive leader for my team, especially with new players joining us,” she said. “I want to inspire and support my teammates, especially the freshmen and transfers who are adapting to our system.”

Still, Reese has her sights set on the WNBA.

“Our ultimate goal is to win another national championship, but personally, I aspire to make it to the WNBA,” she added. “While I do have the option for another year, I do want to get out of college, start life outside of school, and pursue my WNBA dreams. It’s been a challenging but rewarding four years, and I’m excited to continue improving at LSU and beyond.”