LSU’s Angel Reese Says ‘Mental Health’ Led To Absence, So She Wouldn’t ‘Cause Any Cancer Within The Locker Room’


BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU diva celebrity and basketball superstar Angel Reese‘s head is now on as straight as her game.

Reese scored 19 points with nine rebounds in the No. 7 Tigers’ 82-64 win over No. 9 Virginia Tech in front of 10,790 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. But she seemed happier with her mental health after the game.

“How happy are you to see me? I know y’all are. Let’s have some fun. Let’s go,” she said after being suspended for LSU’s last four games.

LSU junior forward Angel Reese returned to action Thursday night after missing the Tigers’ last four games on suspension. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Reese, the MVP of the Final Four last season who led LSU to its first basketball national title, described her absence for the last four games as a “reset.” She was then asked “to what extent do you feel comfortable sharing what you felt you needed to reset or did reset?”

LSU Star Angel Reese Brought Up Her ‘Mental Health’

“My mental health is the most important thing before anything,” Reese said. “And I’m going to make sure I’m OK before anything. Because I don’t want to cause anything, any harm or any cancer within the locker room.”

Mulkey alluded to “locker room issues” last week after suspending Reese, though Mulkey never used the word suspended.

When asked about “the importance of players needing that moment for themselves to address mental health,” Mulkey redirected.

Kim Mulkey celebrates LSU’s national championship last season. (Getty Images)

“Mental health? I don’t want you to think Angel was trying to tell you that, OK,” Mulkey said. “But we all, coaches included, have to take a deep breath sometimes.”

LSU Coach Kim Mulkey Didn’t Say Issue Was Mental Health

Mulkey did bench Reese for the second half of LSU’s game against Kent State on Nov. 14 after some lackadaisical play in the first half. Mulkey then suspended her before the next game on Nov. 17 at Southeastern for an “attitude adjustment,” according to sources. Reese was not with the team for that game and the next three.

Reese stuck to her “reset” narrative.

“So, being able to take a reset to myself, like I said before, I am a human,” she said. “I’m not just an athlete, and that’s OK to do. Pros do it all the time.”

And Reese has made an estimated $1.7 million over the last year as a collegiate player through Name, Image & Likeness deals.

“So, whatever stories that were written – don’t believe everything you read,” she said in reference to a post on X she made last week after social media discussion had her having academic problems. “I mean, I’m back. And I’m happy. And I’m here, and I’m moving forward. And I’m going to help take this team as far as I can.”

Angel Reese Played in Postseason Form

Angel Reese looked in postseason form at times Thursday. She hit 5 of 10 shots from the field and was her typical self on the offensive boards with six. Reese scored six points in the first half and finished strong with 13 in the second half.

“Oh, proud of her,” Mulkey said. “Just proud. Angel is one of the best players I’ve ever coached. You saw her tonight. It was absolutely wonderful. Having Angel back is a shot in the arm.”

Mulkey became the quickest men’s or women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to 700 wins with the victory in her 813 games that put LSU at 8-1. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma previously held that distinction with 700 wins in 822 games.

“I’m trying not to get emotional,” Mulkey said.

Reese, meanwhile, looked like a new player, compared to moments earlier in the season.

“It felt great,” she said. “Resetting and refocusing, I’m just happy to be back. I’m a human. We all go through things.”

Reese credited her mother, Angel Webb Reese, for helping her through her low time as well as former LSU All-American and NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal.

Former LSU Star Shaquille O’Neal Advised Angel Reese

“I talked to Shaq every single day,” she said. “He kept saying, ‘This too shall pass. This too shall pass.’ He told me when I was right. He told me when I was wrong.”

Mulkey praised O’Neal, who himself became a superstar almost overnight like Reese, for his help.

Former Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal played for LSU from 1989-92 and advised current LSU player Angel Reese over the last two weeks during her absence from the team. (Getty Images)

“Shaq was the ideal person for her,” she said. “Shaq is LSU through and through. He loves this place. I love that. How many former athletes would do that for a current athlete. Probably not many. He’s an icon. When he walks in the building, you can’t miss him. I would imagine he was awesome for her.”

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