Amid the ongoing frenzy of college basketball's transfer portal, Hailey Van Lith, former LSU women's basketball guard, is making significant moves that could shake up the SEC landscape. Van Lith, known for her sharp playmaking and scoring ability, is set to visit Mississippi State this weekend, eyeing potential new horizons for the 2024-25 season.

The news was reported by Talia Goodman of The Next Hoops on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

Sources close to the situation, preferring to remain anonymous, confirmed to Stefan Krajisnik of the Clarion Ledger that Van Lith's visit is part of Mississippi State's broader strategy to strengthen their roster through experienced transfers. It comes after Van Lith's prior season with LSU, where she averaged 11.6 points per game and was a key player in the team’s journey to the Elite Eight.

Before her time at LSU, Van Lith had a noteworthy stint at Louisville averaging 19.7 points and 3.2 assists per game in her final season. Her performance at Louisville not only established her as one of the top guards in the nation but also saw her working closely with Sam Purcell, a former Louisville assistant who is now heading into his third season as the head coach at Mississippi State.

Hailey Van Lith not the only transfer Mississippi State is interested in

LSU Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith (11) dribbles the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the second half in the semifinals of the Albany Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
© Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State is not the only program interested in top talent. Alongside Van Lith, Eniya Russell, who recently played for Kentucky, is also scheduled to visit. Russell, known for her versatility on the court, started her collegiate career at South Carolina before transferring to Kentucky, where she contributed 10.1 points per game mainly off the bench this past season.

Van Lith’s decision not to declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft and instead explore further college options highlights a commitment to refining her game. The transfer portal decision is particularly interesting as it followed a challenging Elite Eight games against Caitlin Clark and Iowa, where despite LSU’s efforts, Clark dominated the court leading the Hawkeyes to a 94-87 victory.

Van Lith’s journey through college basketball has been one of both personal and professional growth. Initially gaining recognition at Louisville, she transferred to LSU to enhance her skills as a point guard under coach Kim Mulkey. Her transition to LSU marked a significant shift as she embraced a different role, focusing less on scoring and more on overall gameplay and leadership.

In reflecting on her experiences and the criticism that comes with high-stakes sports, Van Lith has previously expressed a newfound focus on personal well-being over public opinion.

“If I'm really stressed about how these people are talking about me, that means I care a lot about it,” she said.

As the transfer portal continues to buzz, all eyes will be on Van Lith’s next steps, particularly how her potential integration into Mississippi State under coach Purcell could shift dynamics within the SEC. Her visit this weekend could be the precursor to another chapter in her already storied basketball career.