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Lexie Brown is ready to capitalize on new opportunity with Sky after off season reset

Brown’s goal for the 2021 season was to return an entirely different player, so she took House of Athlete owner, Brandon Marshall — the former Bears receiver — up on an offer to train at his facility in the Miami area.

Lexie Brown (left, shown with the Lynx) spent the WNBA offseason focusing on her training rather than playing overseas.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After the Lynx signed Aerial Powers in the WNBA’s free-agency period, Lexie Brown had a feeling her future with the team wasn’t certain.

Still, Brown’s intuition didn’t temper the frustration she felt when she found out she was being waived the day before reporting to training camp.

‘‘It’s been a frustrating but enlightening experience,’’ Brown said. ‘‘Some things are meant to teach you about yourself.’’

Selected ninth overall by the Sun in the 2018 draft, Brown said she thinks her second season was the only one that really proved what she’s capable of.

After leaving the WNBA bubble early last season because of a concussion, Brown didn’t pick up a basketball for four months. It was her first summer since turning pro that she opted not to play overseas, and she said it was exactly what she needed.

Instead of the yearlong grind most players in the WNBA commit to, Brown was able to focus on training. It’s something she wishes more women in the WNBA were able to do, but most can’t give up the supplemental income playing overseas provides.

Brown wanted to return a different player for the 2021 season, so she took House of Athlete owner Brandon Marshall — the former Bears receiver — up on an offer to train at his facility in the Miami area.

Lexie Brown spent her offseason working out with basketball trainer Justin Zormelo and Vice President of pro sports at House of Athlete Mo Wells.
provided photo

Brown put in work training twice a day, five days a week with Vice President of pro sports at House of Athlete Mo Wells and basketball trainer Justin Zormelo. Wells helped Brown reach her physical fitness goals, focusing on her strength and speed. Zormello worked with Brown on the court, helping her extend her shooting range and add other elements to her game.

She said this is the best she has looked and felt in her career.

When she got a call from Sky coach and general manager James Wade to invite her to training camp, she was confident she could turn it into a roster spot because of how she spent her offseason.

‘‘Chicago has an amazing core already,’’ Brown said. ‘‘The thing I’m asking myself is, how can I enhance that core? I’m not trying to replace the core or change it. I want to make it better.’’

The Sky aren’t lacking at guard. Of the eight players signed to training-camp contracts, five are guards. That doesn’t include rookie Shyla Heal, who is waiting on her travel visa and hasn’t been with the team through the first week of camp.

Veterans Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley also are expected to arrive during the second week of camp. Brown said she will look to Vandersloot to help her grow as a passer and to Quigley for lessons on becoming a knock-down shooter.

Chicago Sky

Wade’s expectations for Brown are simple: He wants her to play her game. More specifically, he said he wants her to have good shot production and a short memory.

He also wants Brown to be a high-level defender, an area of her game she doesn’t lack confidence in. The Sun finished third in team defense in Brown’s rookie season, and the Lynx finished fourth in 2020.

The Sky’s intensity level has been high through the first week of camp, Brown said. The team has been practicing three hours a day, but Brown said it feels like 30 minutes because of the high level they’re playing at.

That’s how Brown likes to work. After all, she’s a gym rat.

‘‘There are a lot of players who have bounced around the league until they found their home,’’ Brown said. ‘‘I don’t take this opportunity for granted.’’