Veronica Burton

Veronica Burton a quick study in AU Basketball

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Stephen Hunt
Mar 20, 2023

Veronica Burton is less than a year into her professional career, but already the former Big 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Northwestern has made quite an impression, both with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings and in Athletes Unlimited.

The 7th selection in the 2022 WNBA Draft, she played 36 games as a rookie, making six starts, and averaged 2.6 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.5 rebounds. In three playoff games, she averaged six points, three assists, 2.7 rebounds, and two steals. 

However, many of the great things Burton did as a rookie didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Whether it was deflecting a pass, forcing a turnover, diving on the hardwood for a 50/50 ball, or bringing energy off the bench, that’s where she truly shined.

“It was one [season] where I learned and grew a lot. Defense is something I’ll always take pride in, bringing energy and doing whatever I can to influence the game in a positive manner,” Burton said. “It oftentimes wasn’t in the points category, but over time I started to see the ball go in more.

“I got more comfortable as I gained experience. Being able to get some starts under my belt was huge, especially in the playoffs. It ended on a very high note. I’m fortunate to be in Dallas and get the experience I did.”

She’s brought a similar skill set to AU as a league newcomer. After four weeks of play, she ranks 19th with 2,972 points overall. “The community here and the opportunity to continue to play professional basketball has been really special,” Burton said. 

One thing which has made her AU debut special is the opportunity to again play alongside former Dallas teammates Allisha Gray, now with Atlanta, and Isabelle Harrison, the 2022 AU Defensive Player of the Year who is now with Chicago. 

“It’s awesome. Getting the opportunity to get to know them on and off the court last season was really special,” Burton said. “It’s fun to continue to compete with them and building those relationships. I [also] know Lexie Hull and NaLyssa Smith. I’ve competed with them on 3-on-3 teams.”

Playing in AU is not only a great opportunity for her to forge new friendships and reconnect with former teammates, but also a great way to conclude her first season as a pro and help prepare for the upcoming WNBA season, which begins for Dallas on May 20 against Atlanta. 

“I think it’s at the perfect time as well, being a month and a half before training camp starts. Getting back into basketball shape and being able to compete is the best thing for me,” Burton said. “Obviously, I’m here in Dallas, so that’s even better to be able to have those Dallas Wings fans supporting me at Athletes Unlimited. Just getting more and more familiar with Dallas, which I love as well.”

It also affords her the opportunity to play for an organization very close to her heart — the Ron Burton Training Village, a complex in the Boston area where kids can train and attain personal growth. Ron Burton, who started the village, is Veronica’s grandfather. 

“It means so much to me, just to be able to support them in a way. I grew up going to RBTV every single summer,” Burton said. “It truly shaped who I am. To be able to play, contribute to it, and give back to it is the biggest thing for me. It’s incredible that Athletes Unlimited has given me the opportunity to do so.”

Burton’s father, Steve, a former Northwestern quarterback, is a well-known television sportscaster in Boston, while her sister Kayla, who played basketball at Lehigh, is entering broadcasting. “It’s something that’s always interested me. I don’t know if I’ll be as good in front of the camera [as my dad], I get a little shy,” she said. “The city of Boston embraces him so much and shows him so much love. That’s really cool.”

But the center of Burton’s life is her strong Christian faith, which governs everything she does on and off the court. “My faith is everything. Honestly, it’s what has allowed me to even be here, be a professional basketball player,” she said. “It’s kept me grounded. There can be a lot of times where sports or just life in general can be overwhelming.

“My faith ultimately keeps me humble and just reminds me that basketball is just a game. It’s not really who I am. It’s what I do. Ultimately, my faith is who I am. I play and do everything to glorify the Lord. It’s just allowed me confidence-wise to keep going and has been a steady outlet for me for sure.”


Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.

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