From when the top Division I women’s basketball programs first took note of St. Frances basketball star Angel Reese in the eighth grade to now, there has been one constant for ESPN’s No. 2-rated national prospect.
And so on Friday night, as part of the school’s Midnight Madness basketball event, Reese, a 6-foot-3 senior swing player who earned All-Metro Player of the Year honors as a junior, made her highly anticipated announcement about where she would be playing basketball the next four years.
The 17-year-old Reese is not going far — Maryland is the choice.
During player introductions at Midnight Madness festivities Friday, she grabbed the microphone and unfurled a Maryland flag.
She’ll make her commitment official on Nov. 13 when she signs her national letter of intent.
After receiving dozens and dozens of offers from top schools, systematically narrowing her choices, and then going on four official visits — USC, Tennessee and Syracuse were the other schools — the home-state school checked off all the boxes.
For Reese, it all started with Terps coach Brenda Frese.
“All the other schools were great and I had great visits. Maryland was the first and I had that home feeling when I went there,” Reese said. “Coach Frese has been recruiting me since my eighth grade with consistency. The effort recruiting me and not leaving it up to her assistant coaches — she was always front and center at my [AAU Team Takeover] games — every summer since my eighth-grade year.”
Friday night in the St. Frances gym, in front of family, friends and coaches, Reese proudly made the announcement while emphatically waving a big Maryland flag.
She felt blessed, excited and relieved.
At St. Frances, Reese has been a major part of three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship teams, earning All-Metro first-team honors her first two years before making the Player of the Year jump last season. Last season, she averaged 22.6 points and 19.3 rebounds — surpassing 1,000 points and rebounds before the middle of the championship season. She also was named USA Today Maryland Player of the Year.
“With her unique abilities, I think that’s the forward progression of women’s basketball today where you have a player of her size — 6-foot-3 — that can handle the ball, can pass it, score from different areas and defend every position. That in itself is a pleasure to watch, a pleasure to coach,” St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton said. “She’s a hard worker and she’s dedicated to not only being a good student but also an athlete that continues to refine certain parts of her game every year.”
With her senior season set to start later this month, Reese’s attention is focused on continuing to improve her game and help the Panthers win another league championship.
After that, her goals will remain the same at Maryland.
She liked the instant connection she had with her future teammates and how the team’s system will allow her to play to her strengths. It’s a major plus that she’ll be close to home so family and friends won’t have to go far to watch her play.
And, yes, she’s confident all the winning she enjoys at St. Frances will carry over to College Park: “I really want to win a national championship,” Reese said.
She also feels Maryland gives her a great opportunity to pursue her career paths. She’s interested in playing in the WNBA and makes sure to mention that five Maryland players were on the court a month ago when the Washington Mystics were playing the Connecticut Sun in the league finals.
A career in sports broadcasting is also of interest and Maryland offers the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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After the exhaustive grind yet positive experiences and people she has met through the recruiting process, there was an excitement and comfort in Reese’s voice as she discussed all the positives that were brought up with selecting Maryland. From there, she simply says: “Yeah, I think overall, it’s a really good fit for me.”