Lexie Brown Sparkles Off the Court and On
May 31, 2012 • Orlando, Florida
Alexis ‘Lexie’ Brown, who earned 2012 Gwinnett County (Ga.) Player of the Year honors following her junior season, hit a triple-double in the state quarterfinals to send her team, North Gwinnett High School, to the state semifinals for the first time since 1963. Brown averaged 19.0 ppg. overall in 2011-12 after scoring at a clip of 18.5 ppg. as a sophomore in her first season at North Gwinnett.
Brown’s basketball skills come naturally to her. After all, her father, Detroit Pistons assistant coach Dee Brown, played in the NBA for 12 seasons and won the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
The second in a line of four children, Lexie’s older sister Alyssa (15) is a cheerleader, but her two younger siblings, Anakin (6) and Alanni (9) play hoops. The three of them play together for fun, often times in a two-on-one game with Lexie pitted against her younger brother and sister.
The true student-athlete carries a 4.0 grade point average in school and wants to eventually obtain her law degree after getting her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, where she hopes to help the Terps to another NCAA title.
For now, however, Lexie is concentrating on winning a gold medal for her country. The 5-9 guard who has taken to wearing sequined headbands off the court is a member of the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team that is training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort outside of Orlando, Fla. The USA will take on the Brazil U18 National Team tonight at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN3.
Following the training camp, the USA squad will break for nearly two months before reconvening in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 4-12, prior to traveling to Puerto Rico for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The U18 Championship, held in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15-19, will see the three medal-winning teams secure a berth in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
How is training camp going for you so far?
It’s a lot of fun. We’re learning (about) each other. We have amazing chemistry already, and it’s only been three-and-a-half days. We’re learning a lot here.
What do you think about this team overall?
I think we’re loaded. We have threats from every position. Anyone can run the point. Anyone can knock down a big shot. We can score at every position.
You mentioned team chemistry. Why do you think you’ve been able to bond so quickly?
I really think it’s because most of them were at the McDonald’s (All-American) Game together, but they’ve been great with opening their arms to the younger girls like me, Jannah (Tucker) and Kendall (Cooper), whereas some teams would look at us and say, ‘ah, they’re youger.’ They’ve really opened up. We’ve been able to hang out, laugh together and just have fun.
What have you been learning in your short time together as a team?
Plays. How to read each other. Basically, building on the chemistry that we’ve already developed.
Do you think you have a good enough base for your nearly two-month break, so you all can pick right back up where you left off when you gather again in August?
Definitely. These plays are simple, but they’re also kind of tricky. So, as we’re running them and running them, we’re getting them down. We scrimmaged last night, and we get to play Brazil tonight. We get to play against someone other than our own teammates and that’ll help us remember it more, so that when we take the month and a half off, we’ll be okay when we come back.
You’ve been around basketball your whole life and now your dad is a coach. Did that make it easier for you to transition to playing for college coaches?
Oh yeah, definitely. The way they speak to me, they can use basketball terms. I can always understand what they’re saying. I would actually prefer to be with these college coaches because I think my basketball IQ level is good enough that I can understand a college coach.
Have you sat through any NBA practices and watched how they go through drills?
No, not yet. Over this summer I’ll be up there with my dad for their pre-draft camp, so I’ll probably learn a lot while I’m up there.
Did you get any advice from your dad? Also, he never played for USA Basketball, did that prompt any friendly ribbing?
He just told me to stay true to who I am, to play my game. Because I’m surrounded by such great players, I don’t have to do anything extra or try to play out of my game. And he kept reminding me often that ‘I never got to do this, so you’d better make this team and do it for the Browns,’ and all that stuff. But, he’s so proud of me and I love him for that.
I understand you want to get a law degree. What kind of law do you want to study and what do you plan on doing with it?
I’m not really sure yet. I know I do not want to be in a courtroom, though. So, maybe something like corporate law, something like that. I want to make a lot of money, too.
Do your siblings also play basketball?
My two younger siblings, Alanni and Anakin, they’re nine and six, they play basketball. My 15-year-old sister, who is a cheerleader, does not like basketball at all. She’ll show up to a gym occasionally.
So do the three of you play one-on-one with the winner playing the one sitting out?
No, it’s more like one-on-two. Me against them.
And who wins those games?
Me, of course!
One of your top five movies of all times is The Dark Knight and you said you prefer Batman over Superman. What is it about The Dark Knight you like?
Actually in The Dark Knight, my favorite character was the Joker. So, really I like the villains better in Batman, rather than Batman himself. But, he has such cool bikes and gadgets and stuff like that. Superman doesn’t have that. He just has powers, which I guess is cool, too.
Who has the biggest personalities on this team?
Brittney (Sykes), Mo (Jefferson) and Michaela (Mabrey). They’re just cracking jokes all the time. Brittney has given everybody a nickname. She and Mo are just dancing around. They’re just hilarious, and I love them.
What nickname has she given you?
‘Sparkle,’ because of my headbands.
I’m glad you brought that up. Where did you get your headbands and why did you start wearing them?
This girl at school had worn one at school one day and I was like, ‘Where did you get that?’ And she was like ‘I don’t know. I got them online.’ So, I was looking online, and I couldn’t find them. Then I was at the mall one day and I walked into Claire’s, randomly, and they were all over the wall. I picked up a ton of them. I wore them to training camp and I got a lot of compliments, and I thought, ‘let me just make this my thing,’ so I brought them here.
What have you done off the court here?
Take naps, watch TV and sleep. We kind of bounce around different rooms at night, watching the playoff games. There was a Law and Order marathon on yesterday. We were watching that.
And I think I know your answer, but tell me anyway. Who are you pulling for in the playoffs?
The Celtics, of course!
You listed Seimone Augustus and Diana Taurasi as your two favorite players on the 2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team. What is it about those two stand out for you?
Diana Taurasi, I’ve just always loved her since she was at UConn. She has amazing leadership. Her court presence is just powerful. And I like Seimone because she’s like the new age basketball player coming up. I like her swag. She scores so easily. I remember when they came to Atlanta to play the Dream, we were at all those playoff games. I was just amazed by how smooth she was. She doesn’t say anything, she just shows her game. She just plays it.
Because of where we are, can you tell me your favorite Disney character?
I would say Nemo and then of course Mickey Mouse. He’s cute.