Hailey Van Lith’s TCU transfer portal decision gets major update

Hailey Van Lith is focused on Olympic gold right now

LSU/TCU women's basketball player Hailey Van Lith, with the Texas Christian University campus in the background, and question marks surrounding Hailey

Amid rumors, former LSU women’s basketball player Hailey Van Lith remains uncommitted to any college program, including TCU, as she focuses on her broader Olympic basketball aspirations. While the anticipation around her transfer portal decision grows, Van Lith’s primary attention is directed towards her participation with the USA Basketball 3×3 team, aiming for a spot in the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Van Lith was a standout player at Louisville for her first three years, helping the Cardinals reach the Final Four in 2022. After Louisville’s exit in the Elite Eight in 2023, she chose to transfer to LSU for the 2023-24 season before hitting the transfer portal again after the Tiger’s Final Four loss to Iowa.

Despite visiting several colleges, including TCU, and expressing significant interest, she has not made a formal commitment despite earlier reports that she had committed to the Horned Frogs.

“I did take a visit to TCU and am very interested in them, but I took visits to other schools and was very interested in them, too,” Van Lith said, per Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press. “I haven’t made an official commitment, but I’m very close. The ink has not touched the paper for any school.”

Her decision is highly anticipated, given her profile as one of the most sought-after transfers this season. After averaging 11.6 points and 3.6 assists at LSU last season, she has the option to play another college season thanks to an NCAA eligibility extension granted due to the pandemic.

Contrary to earlier speculations that Van Lith might be leaning heavily towards TCU, she said that recent developments, such as Haley Cavinder’s decision to leave TCU and return to Miami, have not had an influence her own college choice.

“It’s a non-factor for me,” Van Lith said. “If she had stayed and I did go to TCU, I’d have loved to play with her.”

Hailey Van Lith focused on Olympic aspirations

Hailey Van Lith 11 as The LSU Tigers take on the Rice Owls in the 1st round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

© SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK
While her college future may still be in limbo, Van Lith is participating in the USA Basketball 3×3 training camp in Springfield, Massachusetts, and will play in a 3×3 tournament at The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. She has been competing and training alongside WNBA players such as Dearica Hamby, Allisha Gray and Rhyne Howard, gaining experience that is shaping her readiness for professional play.

“Playing against them and seeing how I’m able to score and not score shows me what I need to get better at,” Van Lith said. “It’s a little taste of the league early.”

Her past involvement in 3×3 basketball has been successful, highlighted by gold medals at the U18 team event in 2019 and the FIBA 3×3 World Cup last year. As she aims to join Team USA’s run for gold in Paris, her ranking as fifth in the U.S. for total points accumulated in FIBA rankings positions her well for selection. Two of the four members of the U.S. team must be in America’s top 10 for total points accumulated in FIBA rankings.

“What I remember most is that every game is so unique,” Van Lith said of 3×3 play. “The strategy from game to game is so different. You can’t specialize in one thing and make it as a player in 3 on 3. You have to be able to guard every position for at least a couple of seconds.”

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