University of Louisville basketball player Jude Schimmel visits the Choctaw Nation. Photo: Candace Barnette
Choctaw Central High School got got a visit from the family of Shoni Schimmel, an All-Star guard for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Schimmel was born and raised on a Native American Reservation outside Portland, Oregon.
Choctaw youth gathered to take in "The Schimmel Experience" in the Warrior gym on the school's campus. Shoni's mother, father and sister, Jude, spoke to kids about playing basketball on the reservation and chasing their dreams. Shoni was going to join her family, but a recent invitation to the WNBA All-Star game changed her plan. Meanwhile, her sister Jude plays for the current Louisville Cardinals basketball team.
Jude said people tell she and her sister that they're celebritites, but they just feel like normal kids who grew up on a reservation.
"If it wasn't for basketball, I wouldn't have gotten a scholarship to play basketball... to play at the University of Louisville," said the younger Schimmel. "I wouldn't be getting my education paid for. Who knows where I would be? Honestly... but it's definitely a positive thing for Native Americans, and I've heard a lot of about the basketball that goes on around here, and it makes me feel good. It makes me happy that people are doing really good things here."
Jude and Shoni were part of the 2013 Louisville women's squad that upset No. 1 seed Baylor in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals made it to the final where they were defeated by Connecticut.