The captain’s chairs are set for the return of Athletes Unlimited Basketball.
Tasha Cloud, Odyssey Sims, Courtney Williams and Taj Cole will draft their individual teams to compete in Week 1 of the 2023 season. The draft will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT and will be streamed to Athletes Unlimited’s Youtube channel.
The final leaderboard standings from the previous year determine the captains for the start of each new AU season. Due to pre-approved absences, Lexie Brown and Isabelle Harrison relinquished their captain positions going into Week 1, moving Sims and Williams into the captain’s spot.
Here’s a look back at how each of the athletes faired during the inaugural season and how they navigate the biggest challenge of AU athletes who land in the top four.
W-L Record: 8-7 • W-L Record as a Captain: 5-7
Cloud was a four-time captain in 2022, finishing second overall on the leaderboard with 5,919 points. Her final position as a medalist was heavily impacted by her stat points and MVP points – she ranked second in the stat points category and tied for second with 510 MVP points. She was honored as a game MVP seven times, including three MVP 1 awards.
The point guard led AU Hoops with 133 assists in 15 games, including a league-high 19 assists in the season finale.
For the fans who affectionately referred to Cloud and Carrington together as #TashaNai, they’ll have to wait for their favorite duo to return. The pair were on the same team during all five weeks of the inaugural 2022 campaign. Carrington served as a captain in Week One and chose Cloud with her second pick before Cloud took Carrington with her first selection in each of the final four drafts.
W-L Record: 6-9 • W-L Record as a Captain: 1-5
Sims selected her teams in Weeks 1 and 4 as a captain last season. On the leaderboard, she finished sixth in the league with 5,043 points. She regularly broke 400+ points in her games with five reaching the impressive benchmark.
Sims was the third-leading scorer in AU Hoops with 20.7 points per game. She also ranked third in total points (311), field goals made (114), field goal attempts (240), and three-point field goal attempts (89). The point guard tied for fourth in the circuit with 80 assists.
W-L Record: 7-8 • W-L Record as a Captain: 0-0
Williams will be a first-time captain to kick off her second season with AU. Williams started in 12 games during the inaugural season after missing Week 1 – had she been active for all 15 weeks, she could have finished even higher than her impressive No. 9 spot on the leaderboard.
She logged 10 double-digit scoring performances (including three games with 20 or more points) as the ninth-leading scorer in the league with a 15.5 average. Williams tied for fourth in the league with 80 assists and tied for fifth with 26 steals.
Williams was a part of another duo of athletes who played on the same team for multiple weeks. She and Sims were teammates for three out of the five weeks. This year, she’ll come in on equal footing as a captain and take charge of her own fate for the first three games.
W-L Record: 8-7 • W-L Record as a Captain: 0-0
Cole will be another captain taking on the role for the first time in her AU career. The guard finished the season 10th on the leaderboard and was the seventh-leading scorer in the inaugural season. She averaged 16.9 points per game and logged eight consecutive double-digit scoring efforts – 12 total.
During all give weeks of the 2022 season, Cole and guard Lexie Brown were teammates. The duo was selected to Team Russell in Week 1 and then Brown selected Cole as her No. 3 overall pick in Weeks Two and Three. Other captains took note of how well the pair worked together and Isabelle Harrison drafted the pair in Week 4. Brown gained captainship again in Week 5, adding Cole to her squad.
Editor’s note: DiJonai Carrington was slated to be the Week 1 Blue Team Captain. She will be inactive for Week 1, moving Courtney Williams up. Taj Cole will be the captain of the Purple Team.
Following the draft on Feb. 19, teams will have three days to prepare, come together, and create a game plan for Week 1. AU Hoops Season 2 will debut on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. ET and 8:30 p.m. ET (5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. CT) in Dallas, Texas. Fans can tune in on YouTube with Team Carrington vs Team Sims followed by Team Cloud vs Team Williams.
Savanna Collins is the Digital Media Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on Twitter @savannaecollins.
*Captains may be subject to change.
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