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Second Athletes Limitless Basketball season suggestions off Thursday

Layshia Clarendon is one of a number of WNBA players competing in the Athletes Unlimited Basketball season. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)The second Athletes Unlimited (AU) Basketball season tips off on Thursday in a slightly different setting and on a more established women’s basketball platform. But the same high-intensity, fantasy sports-like scoring system and fan-favorite stars

Second Athletes Limitless Basketball season suggestions off Thursday

Layshia Clarendon is one of a number of WNBA players competing in the Athletes Unlimited Basketball tournament. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Layshia Clarendon is one in every of quite a few WNBA gamers competing within the Athletes Limitless Basketball season. (AP Picture/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The second Athletes Limitless (AU) Basketball season suggestions off on Thursday in a barely totally different setting and on a extra established ladies’s basketball platform. However the identical high-intensity, fantasy sports-like scoring system and fan-favorite stars stay.

“It’s a brief, tense season,” AU CEO and co-founder Jon Patricof stated on a video name with reporters Tuesday. “We prefer to say each second counts at Athletes Limitless.”

The second season of the five-week league that options participant drafts and rotating rosters returns three of the 4 prime level earners from the inaugural 12 months. There are 18 gamers who’ve WNBA expertise and a small group of current school stars.

The group contains WNBA champions Natasha Cloud (Washington Mystics) and Sydney Colson (Las Vegas Aces) in addition to Olympic 3×3 gold medalist Allisha Gray, All-Rookie choice NaLyssa Smith and veteran level guard Layshia Clarendon.

The league’s video games can be viewed on WNBA League Pass, a change from final season’s piecemeal TV viewing, and can now be at its single-site spot in Dallas, quite than Las Vegas.

AU, which holds 5 leagues over 4 sports activities, introduced in October it will transfer its basketball league to Truthful Park Coliseum, the place its volleyball league performs. It additionally pushed back its season a month to run from Feb. 22 by way of March 26, main into the ladies’s Ultimate 4 held in Dallas on March 31 and April 2.

Ilena Hauser, AU’s head of basketball operations, told Yahoo Sports the corporate’s relationship with the Dallas Sports activities Commissioner and its being a “melting pot for women basketball” made it match. The placement change got here amid ongoing controversy over laws in Texas impacting important race concept, voting rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights and gun legal guidelines.

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Internet hosting sporting occasions attracts status and economical influence for an space. There may be typically a debate about whether or not sports activities leagues ought to maintain occasions in states with laws considered as proscribing human rights. As just lately as 2021, MLB pulled its All-Star Recreation from Atlanta due to a voting regulation.

These concerned with AU stated on Tuesday it’s greatest to advocate from inside Texas than ignore the state.

“I in the end am taking a look at it — I’m not really going to flip you guys off proper now,” Clarendon, the WNBA’s first brazenly trans and nonbinary participant, stated whereas motioning along with her palms. “However as an enormous ‘F’ you to all individuals who don’t suppose I ought to play in sports activities or belong in sports activities or my uterus ought to have any rights in the end. That’s form of my stance coming right here to Texas.”

Clarendon stated he is aware of AU stands for a lot of what the gamers collectively imagine and that lots of the legal guidelines in Texas “don’t align with the values of AU from what I perceive.” To be in Texas is an enormous protest in itself, they stated.

Colson, a Houston native who penned an op-ed published at Yahoo Sports on the move, stated gamers have introduced the identical mindset of talking out that’s seen within the WNBA.

“We thought that us enjoying right here was an opportunity for us to be vocal, communicate out towards this stuff, and in addition come right here and present assist to Black-owned companies [and] women-owned companies,” Colson stated. “Have trans audio system are available in to speak to us to coach our gamers and let individuals know the best way to transfer in areas the place possibly you don’t perceive terminology or language, however you possibly can nonetheless discover a option to be respectful and educate your self.

“I feel AU has achieved a very good job of creating training and calls to actions be a basis of the issues that we do right here.”

AU has at all times included an Athletes Causes program that highlights charities of a participant’s selecting. Every participant selects a trigger and and this system, powered by Give Vigorous, gives funding matching their season win bonus.

Hauser stated she’s excited to be extra concerned within the Dallas group after contact was restricted due to COVID-19 considerations. AU launched its first sport, softball, in June 2020.

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There can be a celebration of Black ladies’s historical past on Feb. 28 and a partnership with Particular Olympics in week 3.

“We’ve additionally had quite a lot of outreach to coaches and athletes within the Dallas group and actually inviting them to be part of our season,” Hauser stated.

The league’s finale will lead into the Ultimate 4 in the identical metropolis. Every week afterward April 10 is the WNBA draft and plenty of names referred to as that evening could possibly be future AU stars.

Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud (9) will participate in the Athletes Unlimited season. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud will take part within the Athletes Limitless season. (AP Picture/Terrance Williams)

How does Athletes Limitless work?

AU has 4 sports activities and every league is player-run with participant coaches who draft their groups weekly. There aren’t any staff homeowners, coaches or managers. A Player Executive Committee (PEC) meets weekly with AU employees and determines all elements of the league, from rosters to guidelines and the scoring system. The basketball PEC consists of chairperson Colson, Cloud, Ty Younger, Kirby Burkholder and Lexie Brown.

4 groups every play three video games per week, sometimes at 6 and eight:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There may be a person winner on the finish of the five-week season primarily based on factors accrued. Extra on that beneath.

The highest 4 level scorers each week are named staff captains and draft their staff on Sundays for the upcoming week of contests. The groups are separated by colours: gold (No. 1 scorer), blue (2), orange (3), purple (4). Every captain is allotted as much as two minutes per draft choose. There can be 11 gamers per staff.

A gaggle of facilitators helps information captains and athletes all through the season. Pokey Chatman (Storm assistant coach) and Danielle Viglione (Sacramento Expertise Academy proprietor) return for his or her second seasons. They’re joined by Seimone Augustus (Sparks assistant), Carlos Knox (former Fever interim coach) and Zak Buncik (Wings assistant).

Who’s enjoying in Athletes Limitless?

The second season options 18 of 44 rostered gamers who have WNBA experience. It’s a means for gamers to keep away from heading abroad, where there is often a large paycheck, but high risk and no true offseason from basketball.

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“What attracted me to AU is a chance to play [and] an opportunity to play within the states,” stated Clarendon, who was waived by the Lynx forward of the 2021 season and went unsigned till agreeing to a 2023 coaching camp contract with the Sparks. “I don’t need to go abroad, I’ve not gone abroad for a lot of, a few years. And I’ve typically spent the offseason grinding within the health club by myself, normally looking for guys to play pick-up. It was completely a no brainer. This can be a dream for an individual who needs to stay within the states to have this chance.”

The vary of WNBA expertise in AU varies from longtime vets like Clarendon to rookies like Smith. Veronica Burton (Wings), Lexie Hull (Fever), Kierstan Bell (Aces), Naz Hillmon (Dream) and Evina Westbrook (Mystics) are coming off their rookie WNBA seasons.

Lexie Brown (Sparks), Kelsey Mitchell (Fever), DiJonai Carrington (Solar), Isabelle Harrison (Sky) are amongst the WNBA stars returning for a second AU season. Cloud, Harrison and Brown completed second by way of fourth within the first season’s standings. Tianna Hawkins gained the title, however just isn’t signed to play this 12 months.

Different gamers are doubtlessly trying to play their means right into a WNBA coaching camp contract. Jenna Staiti (Georgia), Mya Hollingshed and N’dea Jones (Texas A&M) are current school stars.

Courtney Williams (Sky), Odyssey Sims (free agent), Taj Cole and Cloud are captains for week one and drafted their teams on Saturday.

The way to watch Athletes Limitless: TV schedule

WNBA League Cross will air 25 of the 30 Athletes Limitless video games stay in a mutually beneficial partnership between the two domestic women’s leagues. They will even be archived for later viewing.

“The WNBA has been extremely supportive since day 1,” Hauser stated. “I feel they stayed a bit of quiet early on simply attempting to see what it was going to seem like.”

Hauser stated the complete league, from commissioner Cathy Engelbert on down, has lent its assist as a result of it realizes AU provides a “nice alternative for his or her athletes.”

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The opposite 5 video games consisting of the doubleheaders on Feb. 26 and March 15 and a season-finale recreation on March 25, will air on CBS Sports activities Community. Choose video games will even air on Bally regional networks and the Girls’s Sports activities Community, an ad-supported streaming service.

The TV schedule for the primary week of video games is as follows. The full five-week schedule is here.


Group Williams (blue) vs. Group Sims (orange), 6 p.m. ET, WNBA League Cross and Girls’s Sports activities Community

Group Cloud (gold) vs. Group Cole (purple), 8:30 p.m. ET, WNBA League Cross and Girls’s Sports activities Community


Group Cole (purple) vs. Group Sims (orange), 6 p.m. ET, WNBA League Cross and Bally Sports activities

Group Williams (blue) vs. Group Cloud (gold), 8:30 p.m. ET, WNBA League Cross and Bally Sports activities


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Group Cole (purple) vs. Group Williams (blue), 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports activities Community

Group Sims (orange) vs. Group Cloud (gold), 4:30 p.m., CBS Sports activities Community

How does the AU scoring system work?

Gamers can accumulate factors in three main methods: staff win factors, being voted recreation MVP, and particular person stats on each side of the ball. Particular person work issues, however staff wins are nonetheless most vital as these factors account for approximately 64% of the points a player earns throughout every AU season.

“The scoring system could be very totally different and I feel it’s the enjoyable a part of it,” Smith stated. “You get to learn to play and each shot you’re taking it’s going to value you one thing otherwise you’re going to achieve one thing.”

Win factors are awarded to everybody on the staff and are awarded throughout particular person quarters in addition to the general recreation. People on the staff that wins 1 / 4 (scores extra factors) earns 50 factors. Quarters which are tied roll over to the subsequent quarter with 100 factors (50 for every quarter) then up for grabs. The staff that wins the sport earns 100 factors. There aren’t any win factors in extra time.

Recreation MVP factors are voted on by gamers and members of The Unlimited Club, the corporate’s unique fan membership. There are three MVPs in a recreation, very like hockey’s three stars. The highest vote-getter receives 90 factors, the second vote-getter receives 60 and the third receives 30.

Then there’s a lengthy record of particular person stats that may be each earned and misplaced. There aren’t any particular person factors in extra time. The purpose construction is as follows.

Single level on the courtroom — 10 factors every (Made free throw is 10 factors, 2-pointer is 20, 3-pointer is 30)

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Assists, steals and blocks — 10 factors

Offensive rebound — 10 factors

Defensive rebound — 5 factors

Taking pictures or private foul drawn — 4 factors

Offensive foul drawn — 8 factors

Gamers can lose factors for missed area targets, turnovers and committing fouls.

Missed shot (FT, 2-pt or 3-pt): -10 factors

Turnover: -10 factors

Offensive foul dedicated: -16 factors

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Taking pictures, private, different foul dedicated: -8 factors

Level totals are referenced and proven all through a recreation. Followers can sustain with factors on the leaderboard that ranks all 44 gamers. The highest 4 of the leaderboard after the week’s video games grow to be captains for the next week. The highest point-getter on the finish of the season is the Athletes Limitless champion.

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