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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Shoni Schimmel shares a laugh with her sister Jude. Whether she'll announce today on where she's headed to college is anyone's guess. It is good, see her practicing in the Louisville Cardinal shirt.

(Today, we share with you the notes from a friend. She was a decent high school and college basketball player who went on to do some coaching in the area before getting married and moving out of state.)

11 year old Connie has no doubt that she'll become a good basketball player someday. She's already the starting center on her school's 5th and 6th grade team...playing a little select team ball and watching replays of her games from the winter to see what she's doing right and wrong on the court. Her Dad is a family friend and he asked me if I would give him and her an honest evaluation on what kind of game she had, where she needed to improve and what to work on. Her Mom couldn't tell you the difference between a full court press and a neatly pressed suit but she is grateful for the fact her daughter doesn't spend all day on the internet and 4G network.

For Connie, there are successes and frustrations. She is tall and she gets a lot of rebounds. She doesn't like the double teams and swat away attempts she faces when she gets the ball in the paint. She realizes that with them, though, it means someone is open and she tries to find them. She works on moving her feet and knows she's still slower than the coaches would like to see her. She jumps rope and practices spin moves and block out positioning. I can attest to the fact that she's learned how to throw an elbow.

Her Dad asked me to see what I thought. She was a bit shy at first as we talked a little before we hit the court. Eventually it came out that she's a huge Vandy fan, envious that I communicate with the coach and players in the program and would die to get a chance to watch them in a practice setting.

No promises. I told her that I'd see. Then, we got on the court. My skills on the court aren't what they used to be but I remember the things I was taught. She tried to back me in for an easy basket. I sent it to the sidelines. I drew a flying foul when I head faked her and banked one off the glass. The game of "21" wasn't close but it gave me enough to work with for suggestions and an idea of where she was with her skills.

I reintroduced her to the box behind the goal on the basket. We spent time using it from various places around the paint. I showed her how to work the pump fake and finally got her to quit taking the ball almost to the court before raising back up for a shot. It was enough for one day. Her Dad got it all on camera and we agreed to do it again in a few days. It'll be a once or twice a week session with her this summer. Other sports beckon. She enjoys softball and she'd like to take up the game of golf.

We sit and drink water afterward. She likes water instead of soft drinks, which is a good thing. We talk diet. She is large for her age but not obese. I mention chicken, fish, pasta, vegetables and fruit, She counters with cheeseburgers, fries, pizza and ice cream. We reach an agreement to try it my way for a few weeks. We compromise to allow the pizza and ice cream to remain. Before I leave, I give her an old practice T-shirt I used when I was in college. A bit big on her, but the look of awe and appreciation was worth it.

It felt good to be back out there again. After years of coaching and years before that playing...I found I still had the competitive drive. If it makes the difference in a young basketball player's life, I'll be happy. If she quits the game and goes on to other teenage be it. The exercise can't hurt either of us, though.

What I saw was a dedication and willingness to learn. And, that's a good start.


  1. Great story. Keep us updated on how she does.

  2. Still no word? Wow. She is definitely waiting until the last minute. Maybe she will not sign at all?

  3. Her high school doesn't know what's going on either, at least as of noon today:

    "(Schimmel) isn't known to have made a college choice, according to Franklin athletic director Scott Santangelo."

  4. And so it goes. UofL is the obvious choice. Sometimes it is hard to decide when it is a cross county move.


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