Lexie Brown

2024 AU Pro Basketball Draft Report: Week 3 Preview

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2024 / Credit: Sarah Smith
W.G. Ramirez
Mar 12, 2024

Lexie Brown says she doesn’t mean to sound obnoxious when she says she’s always known she can be an elite leader.

Pardon her apology, but it’s unnecessary — she’s never been obnoxious.

On the contrary, it’s called confidence, from one of the more gracious and professional women in basketball who is well on her way to making a difference with one of the more powerful voices in women’s sports.

“I just haven’t really had an opportunity to show it in my professional career yet,” Brown said during the weekly Athletes Unlimited Pro Basketball press conference. “So I think that’s one of the reasons why I dove into AU head first, because they not only offered me a roster spot, but they also offered me a spot on that executive committee in season one.”

Now, after relinquishing that role because she spent some time overseas last year, Brown is back as the Player Executive Committee chair and couldn’t be any happier with the growth of a league she’s become one of the faces of since its inception.

From the players’ arrangements to all-around accommodations to the talent the league continues to bring in, Brown beams when speaking of the maturation process, knowing she’s believed since day one.

“Just seeing the progress we’ve made from season one versus season three has been really cool to watch unfold,” said Brown, who currently sits sixth on the leaderboard heading into Week Three. “It’s just really nice and I didn’t do it by myself, obviously. We have an amazing executive committee. We’ve added two more players to it in the last few weeks, so we’re gonna have more minds working together to keep making AU grow every single year.

“I saw the vision from season one, I knew that this was going to grow and be something amazing for women’s basketball in the United States. So I’m just really excited to continue seeing it grow.”

Brown is coming off an exceptional Week Two, in which she scored 20-plus points in all three games, including an AU career-high 27 on Saturday.

So while she’s leading the PEC as the chairperson, one seat she’s been happy not to sit in is the captain’s chair, something she was affixed to during the inaugural season.

Not having to worry about the draft, and coaching during games, has allowed Brown to get her mind and body right with the proper maintenance and recovery as she returns to the enjoyment and passion for a sport she grew up loving in a basketball household.

“I’m very happy with how my body’s feeling, I’m in a lot better shape than I thought I was in, and everyone around me has just been so supportive and understanding of my situation, which has been super helpful,” Brown said. “Just being out there and running around and playing basketball again, I mean, I’m just so happy.

“I told Tash (Cloud), I was looking at the leaderboard, I was at five (and) I was like, ‘Almost got back to that captain’s seat and I don’t want it.’ It’s always fun watching the draft because it is a little stressful but I wouldn’t want to be a captain. I don’t want to be a captain, I want to take the Allisha Gray route. Sneak into the top four the last week and maybe leave with a medal again.”

Nothing obnoxious about that.


Thursday, 6 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. CT, Team Cloud vs. Team Mitchell — We’ve continued to see some of the best games played on Sundays since 2022. But Thursday’s tip to Week Three between these squads will be one to watch on ESPN+.

With Cloud bringing back a red-hot Brown and forwards Bashaara Graves and Isabelle Harrison to join her squad for the second consecutive week, there will be a sense of chemistry flowing with several new faces. Ruthy Hebard and Laeticia Amihere are certainly a frontcourt duo to be wary of, while hybrid Rae Burrell can be dangerous, despite her limited minutes (see below). This is a squad that can rebound and score well, and has strength in numbers on defense.

Tiffany Mitchell drafted well with four players averaging at least 13.5 points per game and two more with at least 8.5. She, too, has some players who can bang in the paint, including Adut Bulgak, who has thrived in her first AU season with 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Lexie Hull is the reigning AU Defensive Player of the Year, so it’ll be interesting to see who she draws as an assignment.


Team Mitchell might have pulled off the steal of the week with Essence Carson going in the sixth round and 23rd overall. The veteran offensive juggernaut in her third season with AU has always been a threat offensively. Whether she’s coming off the bench or in the starting lineup, Carson is going to be a threat at the offensive end, be it in attracting attention while driving to the hoop and creating a potential kick, hitting mid-range jumpers, or firing from 3-point range.


Second-year AU star Kierstan Bell was taken by captain Odyssey Sims with the first overall pick, marking the second straight week the two-time WNBA champion was the top selection. Bell becomes the fifth player in league history to be the top overall pick in a weekly draft multiple times.


Four players on this year’s roster are pulling double duty. Odyssey Sims, Te’a Cooper, Ruthy Hebard and Bulgak are all mothers and enjoying the balance on and off the court, as they’ve all got their children with them for this year’s experience in Dallas.


Former AU player CC Andrews made a guest spot during this week’s draft party with Janae Sims and Savanna Collins, bringing smiles to the dynamic hosts and those in the chat room. When asked about a tweet she put out last week about one of the captains, Andrews said, “I’m thinking, would I want to be guarding Tiffany Mitchell when she’s coming downhill? (She’s) a dawg. Tiffany is one girl I would not want to guard. I’m 120 (pounds) wet. What am I gonna do?”


“It’s happening!” the AU Draft Party panelists proclaimed when Team Cloud and Team Mitchell swapped picks. Team Cloud sent Danni McCray to Team Mitchell in exchange for Dorie Harrison, giving us a roster with the sister teammates everyone has been waiting for this week with Dorie, and sister Izzy. The Harrisons will become the fifth set of sisters to play on the same team during a week in any of Athletes Unlimited’s four sports. It marked the first-ever voluntary trade in Athletes Unlimited Pro Basketball history.


With an “a” next to their names on the draft board, Harrison and Burrell, both taken by Team Cloud, have been listed as active, but with limitations. Nevertheless, any playing time with those two will be beneficial for Cloud’s squad. Graves, meanwhile, had an asterisk next to her name, which means she’ll enter the week inactive but eligible to be drafted.


With a “p” next to her name Ty Young (Team Sims) only available for Sunday, with prior commitments for Thursday and Saturday.


W.G. Ramirez is a 36-year veteran sports reporter in Southern Nevada, serving as a correspondent for Athletes Unlimited. Follow him on Twitter at @WillieGRamirez

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