By Brent Cahwee, NDNSPORTS.COM
As the WNBA Draft day approaches on April 14th for Shoni Schimmel, many draft boards have her going as early as the seventh pick in the draft to the twelfth pick. Where she ends up however will be anybody’s guess as many teams have different needs at the moment but one thing is for sure Shoni will be a huge addition to any WNBA squad in terms a team looking for a great outside shooter and of course the throng of fans that she will draw to not just the home games but to the away games as well.
But before that draft day arrives, we wan to highlight the previous and current Native American Athletes that were drafted or played in the WNBA:
-Ryneldi Becenti (Navajo Nation); Although she wasn’t drafted into the WNBA, Becenti was the first Native American athlete to ever play in the WNBA, Becenti played in the ingaugral season with the Phoenix Mercury in 1997 as a free agent. A former standout at Arizona State University, Becenti played overseas as well and recently had her number 21 jersey retired by the University.
-Tahnee Robinson (Northern Cheyenne Tribe); In 2011, Tahnee was the first Native American athlete ever drafted into the WNBA, she was selected as the 31st overall pick in the draft by the Phoenix Mercury and then traded to the Connecticut Sun. Tahnee currently plays overseas basketball in the Ukraine.
-Angel Goodrich (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma); In 2013, Angel became the highest ever drafted Native American athlete drafted into the WNBA as she was selected as the 29th overall pick by the Tulsa Shock. Angel has played the most game to date in the WNBA by any Native athlete at (31gp) and had 16 starts for the Shock. Angel finished the season averaging 21 minutes per game and averaged 4 points a game and 2 assist per game. Angel will look to begin her second season with the Shock in 2014.
With Shoni projected in the early rounds of the WNBA, she could be highest drafted Native American into the WNBA. The 2014 draft presented by State Farm will be held on Monday, April 14, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. ESPN2 will provide coverage and analysis of the first round beginning at 8 p.m. ET and ESPNU will air the second and third rounds beginning at 9 p.m. ET.