Monday, July 1, 2019
What They Are Doing Today -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
CATCHING UP WITH.....SHONI SCHIMMEL
(PAULIE CONTINUES WITH THE SUMMER WEEKLY FEATURE OF "WHAT THEY ARE DOING TODAY" WITH A LOOK AT ONE OF LOUISVILLE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL'S MOST-LOVED STARS -- SHONI SCHIMMEL)
When one thinks of the history of University of Louisville women's basketball, the name Shoni Schimmel quickly comes to mind.
A 2010 high school All-American out Oregon and featured in the independent documentary/film Off the Rez...Schimmel came to Louisville for her career as a student-athlete and created some very impressive stats and memories in her four years as a Cardinal.
As a junior, she led the Cards to the 2013 NCAA Women's Championship game. Who could ever forget her eye-popping move over Brit Griner and the subsequent verbal add-on Shoni directed at Griner after the score? Schimmel went on to score over 17 points a game her senior season and was an All-American. Her 2174 college points placed her third on the all-time scoring list at UofL and she was selected eighth in the first round of the 2014 WNBA Draft by Atlanta.
As a member of the Dream, she played along side another "Cardinal Forever", Angel McCoughtry, made the 2014 WNBA All-Star game anD was selected MVP after her 29 point performance. She led Atlanta in assists in 2014 and 2015 but the Dream, despite these two and stars like Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza were upset in the first round of the 2014 playoffs by Chicago and did not make the playoffs in 2015. Schimmel was also selected for the 2015 WNBA All-Star game, thanks in part to the huge Native America vote and fan adoration of the flamboyant shooter from Pendleton, Oergon.
2016 brought changes for Shoni. Then head coach for Atlanta -- Michael Cooper -- expressed disappointment that Schimmel showed up for training camp "out of shape" and she was traded to the New York Liberty. Her role and stats diminished in New York and she missed the second half of the season due to a concussion.
In 2017, there were more changes in store for Schimmel. She didn't report for the New York Liberty's training camp. She released a statement that she would be taking the 2017 WNBA season off to deal with some personal issues. Her grandmother, a strong force in her life, had recently become ill and Shoni wanted to spend time with her and her family before she eventually passed away. Shoni indicated she would return for the 2018 season, and did...but she failed to make the Liberty's roster and was picked up by the Las Vegas Aces...playing in just two games before getting waived.
Undaunted, she went overseas after being waived by the Aces and played briefly under contract in Israel but she returned to the USA and went in a different direction.
She accepted the job of girls basketball coach at New Town High School in North Dakota on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Details are skecthy and hard to find on her year of coaching there but, it appears the Eagles went 14-18. She is not listed as the coach for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Shoni's mother Ceci Moses and father Rick Schimmel were successful coaches on the high school level until a controversial firing in 2016 at Santa Fe (NM) Indian School. Click on the link below to read about the Schimmel's side of the incidents.
LINK: SCHIMMEL SIDE OF THE STORY
Shoni did return recently to Spokane's Hoopfest this summer...her first time playing in the outdoor basketball tournament since 2008. Playing in the Elite Division with other former NCAA DI standouts and ex-WNBA players, she teamed up with a couple of Eastern Washington ex-players and New Mexico forward Abby Scott and formed the All Rez team.
After losing their first game, Shoni's squad met and sent her sister Jude's squad (Air Natives) to the losers bracket in the double elimination format. Hoopfest is the world's largest outdoor 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
Shoni's team won the Elite women's bracket. Here's a recap.
LINK: All Rez wins
Will Schimmel play competitively again in the WNBA or overseas?
"I'm just chilling right now. After playing basketball for 23 straight years, I think I deserve a break after everything. I'm getting ready to possibly get another coaching job."
The Jeff Walz player-to-coaching tree sprouts another branch. Honestly, I didn't think it would be Shoni, but, when you consider the facts, it makes perfect sense. A love for the game. tremendous knowledge of the game. The ability to pass on what she's learned to younger players. Her parental influence and her knack for being a leader.
I remember seeing Shoni work the summer Jeff Walz camps "back in the day". Her easy-going smile and love of children made her a mecca...a "gravitate-to" source on the court for the younger players. Maybe this was Shoni seeing the "younger Shoni" again.
We've seen the transition from player to coach in Becky Burke, Candyce (Bingham) Wheeler, Sara Hammond, Cortnee Walton and more. All of them have paid dues and are still paying dues to be where they are and where they dream of being eventually. Here's hoping Shoni has the "stick-to-it" mentality to continue to follow this new avenue in her life. Maybe someday we'll see her on the sidelines as a DI NCAA coach. The big question is: how much does she want it?
Baby steps first, though. Remember Jeff Walz got his start coaching middle and high school teams.
The best of luck to Shoni Schimmel. Here's hoping she can develop a new set of "shake 'em" prodigies for women's basketball in the future. If it turns out not to be coaching, her (and Jude's) work and efforts with the Native American tribes across the nation could be a venue to examine and continue to build upon.
A young woman who has seen so much, so fast in her 27 years. What will the next 27 years, or even next 27 months bring?
(Acknowledgment to Ryan Collingsworth's article on Hoopfest for information on today's article. https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/jun/29/former-wnba-all-star-shoni-schimmel-happy-to-retur/ )