Sunday, June 27, 2010
Remember the name...Shoni Schimmel
She was the last of the six freshmen Lady Cards to commit to Jeff Walz and the University of Louisville's womens basketball team...but her impact may be the first thing you notice when the Red and Black takes the court at the YUM KFC Center this late fall. Shoni Schimmel is a playmaker. Period.
For four years in Oregon, she dazzled fans and opponents and filled gymnasiums with her skills. No shot was too difficult. No pass unthinkable. No opponent foolish enough not to double or triple team her. First at Class 5A power Hermiston and for two years at Franklin...Schimmel found her way to the hoop for 2120 career points. When you consider she sat out 13 games her junior year with a ankle injury...the stat is even more impressive. She scored 805 of those in her senior year.
The 2009-10 Oregon Player of the Year had listed Louisville as one of several colleges she was considering. Many considered Louisville the slight leader for her services...but UCLA, Rutgers, South Carolina and Oregon were in the mix. The signing period came and went and no signature...no indication. The Schimmel camp wasn't commenting and rumors were abound that Schimmel wasn't academically qualified, that Stanford had climbed into the mix. Baylor was calling, Schimmel was considering UConn...every day something new surfaced. We all know how wild and unfounded internet speculation and innuendo can be...here at CARDINAL COUPLE...we eventually adopted the "watched pot never boils" philosophy and knew that she would make the choice...make it happen...when the time was right.
Finally, on the day of her high school graduation...word started to surface that there might be an announcement. The Quakers football stands were packed on that Tuesday night. Relatives, friends, Louisville head coach Jeff Walz and assistant Stephanie Norman all watching and waiting. The plan was for long time family friend Fred Hill to make the announcement after performing a song in Schimmel's native language...from the Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Fred performed..but forgot the announcement. Finally, a quickly scribbled note made its way to Fred from Schimmel. He announced that Shoni Schimmel had chosen Louisville and the crowd erupted. She then accepted her diploma. The record books won't show it...but it was Schimmel's final assist of her high school career.
Where will she fit into the scheme of the 2010-11 Lady Cards? Schimmel is the complete ball player and can handle either position in the back court. Speculation would have her seeing time at one of the wing spots and doing whatever the defense isn't watching. She can shoot, penetrate, pass, and post up. Double team her and she'll find the open player every time. Leave her alone and she'll score at will.
Louisville has their version of Maya Moore...Sue Bird...Diana Taurasi...and maybe the next Angel McCoughtry...if the past is any indication of what the future holds.
Remember the name. We here at CARDINAL COUPLE think that you'll be hearing it quite often over the next four years.
Angel McCoughtry leads 10-4 Atlanta Dream against L.A. today in WNBA action. The Sparks (3-9) are feeling the effects of having Candace Parker on the sidelines for the rest of the year. Angel leads Atlanta in scoring with 20.6 ppg.