Louisville transfer guard Hailey Van Lith is one of the top names available in the NCAA Transfer Portal, and the National Champions are making a big push to add her to the 2023-24 roster.
On Tuesday, Van Lith was on campus in Baton Rouge for an official visit with the Tigers, a source confirmed to On3. The news was first reported by The Balcony Bengals.
LSU loses four names from the 2022-23 roster in Alexis Morris, Jasmine Carson, La’Dazhia Williams and Emily Ward.
With Morris gone from the point guard spot, the pursuit of Van Lith could give the Tigers an immediate replacement at the position.
Van Lith has a connection to Mulkey
As a junior this past season, Van Lith averaged 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists. That resulted in All-ACC honors for the second straight season.
With two years of eligibility remaining, Van Lith is one of the top names to hit the portal. Out of high school, Van Lith was named a McDonald’s All-American and ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the nation by ESPN.
For Mulkey, there’s already a familiarity built in.
Van Lith left high school as a Top 10 prospect in the 2020 class.
In the same class, LSU’s Angel Reese, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, UCONN’s Paige Bueckers and Stanford’s Cameron Brink were among the other prospects ranked inside the Top 10.
Mulkey and Baylor signed a pair of Top 20 prospects in the 2020 cycle, but the Bears fell just short of landing Van Lith. In the race for her commitment, Van Lith was down to just two teams – and one was coached by Mulkey.
Given Mulkey is coming off another national title, and knows Van Lith and her family from recruiting, there was little doubt the Tigers would make a push.
It’s worth noting that while Van Lith entered the portal, she also included a “no-contact” clause. That means Van Lith can reach out to coaches, but coaches can’t initiate the contact. With an official visit to LSU, it’s evident Van Lith has sincere interest in the Tigers as a potential landing spot.
Could NIL be a factor in Van Lith’s decision?
In this week’s update to the On3 NIL Women’s Top 100, LSU had both Angel Reese and Flau’jae Johnson check into the top four overall.
Van Lith isn’t far behind, also checking into the On3 NIL Women’s Top 100 as the No. 8 player on the list with an On3 NIL valuation of $518,000.
The valuation also makes On3’s NIL 100, which includes both men’s and women’s sports.
“Hailey Van Lith has established herself as a star in NIL over the last 21 months,” said On3 College Sports Business Reporter Pete Nakos. “She’s carefully crafted her brand, with her most noteworthy deals so far easily being adidas and Dick’s Sporting Goods. It will be interesting to watch if her partnership with the sportswear brand makes any impact on where she decides to transfer. Louisville was an adidas school.”
While Van Lith has an NIL shoe deal with adidas, it’s worth noting LSU – a Nike school – has a star freshman in Johnson who has an NIL deal with Puma.
Transfer portal background information
The NCAA Transfer Portal, which covers every NCAA sport at the Division I, II and III levels, is a private database with names of student-athletes who wish to transfer. It is not accessible to the public.
The process of entering the portal is done through a school’s compliance office. Once a player provides written notification of an intent to transfer, the office enters the player’s name in the database and everything is off and running. The compliance office has 48 hours to comply with the player’s request and that request cannot be refused.
Once a player’s name shows up in the portal, other schools can contact the player. Players can change their minds at any point and withdraw from the portal. However, once a player enters the portal, the current scholarship no longer has to be honored. In other words, if a player enters the portal but decides to stay, the school is not obligated to provide a scholarship anymore.
The database is a normal database, sortable by a variety of topics, including (of course) sport and name. A player’s individual entry includes basic details such as contact info, whether the player was on scholarship and whether the player is transferring as a graduate student.
A player can ask that a “do not contact” tag be placed on the report. In those instances, the players don’t want to be contacted by schools unless they’ve initiated the communication.
The portal has been around since Oct. 15, 2018 and the new calendar cycle within the portal begins each August. For example, the 2021-22 cycle started Aug. 1. During the 2020-21 cycle, 2,626 FBS football players entered the transfer portal (including walk-ons). That comes after 1,681 entered during the 2019-20 cycle and 1,709 during the abbreviated 2018-19 cycle. In comparison, 1,833 Division I basketball players entered the portal during the 2020-21 cycle after totals of 1,020 in 2019-20 and 1,063 in 2018-19.