University of Louisville standout projected to go in 1st round
By Charlie Perry
The 2014 WNBA draft is tonight in Uncasville, Conn. and teams are making their final preparations to sign some players that can come in and make an impact. Louisville superstar Shoni Schimmel is one such lady that will be watched closely as the clock ticks down to draft night. The Portland area native will be one of twelve WNBA prospects invited to attend the ceremony.
Coaches from around the league are taking notice of Schimmel who leads the 2014 class of shooting guards in scoring. Linn Dunn, head coach of the Indiana Fever commented, “I think Shoni Schimmel is a very entertaining player. She played in a great system at Louisville under Jeff Walz. I would be surprised if she’s not drafted in the first round.” Former NBA player and coach of the New York Liberty Bill Laimbeer said, “I think the Liberty fans would get a big kick out of her playing for us; she fits right into our style.” The Tulsa Shock has also shown interest with their large Native American fan base. Head Coach Fred Williams commented, “A player like that would certainly help the fan base here in Tulsa; I think her fan base would help any team in this league. She’s a terrific play to watch from the standpoint of energy and shooting, she’s also an all-around player that can play multiple positions.”
Shoni Schimmel commented on Tulsa’s Native American fan base saying, “I got a chance to travel to Oklahoma to play and so many Natives came out to support us, we had a three hour autograph session after the game and it was real cool to see all the Native Americans who came out to support us. Tulsa definitely has a huge Native American fan base.” She was then asked how it would feel to play in Seattle which is only a few hours away from her home.
“It’s close to home, I know there’s a lot of Native Americans on the West Coast, its defiantly a thought but regardless of where I go I know my fans will be there to support me in general. My grandparents would love to go up there and have a four hour drive to watch me play, at the same time I hope there are more games on TV so they can have more of a chance to see me.”
Another team that many think would be a good fit for Schimmel is the Connecticut Sun which are Native American owned by the Mohegan Tribe. “It being Native American based is a great opportunity to play in front of Native Americans and fans overall, I’ve thought about it but regardless of where I end up I’m just excited to have this opportunity to play in the WNBA.”
When asked about her transition to the bright lights of the WNBA Schimmel said, “I have so much to grown on, college is one thing but this is the WNBA. I’m looking forward to making that next step in my career and elevating my game. Just having that chance to play in the WNBA with all the great players, I’m looking forward to learning and running with it.”
Schimmel is projected to go between 10 and 12 in the first round but could possibly go as high as 7 if the Seattle Storm decides to take on a local fan favorite. The WNBA draft can be seen at 8:00PM eastern time tonight on ESPN2.
Charlie Perry is a staff writer for the Haskell Indian Leader and a contributing writer for NDNsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org