Schimmel Sisters Visit Red Lake
Monday, October 07 2013
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Beaming with excitement waiting for the Schimmel sisters to come to Red Lake High School gym sits Amber McNeal and her sister Diane. With a big smile on her face Amber says, “Guess What? Last season I told my mom I would be so excited if they ever came to Red Lake to show me some basketball moves and I could get their autograph, and it came true!” Amber McNeal is ten years old and in the 5th grade at Red Lake Elementary where she plays on the basketball team. Amber had her wish come true that Jude and Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla Tribe) would visit Red Lake.

The famed Native American basketball stars showed up with their parents to a packed gymnasium on Sept. 21 at the Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minn.

Shoni, 21, is a senior at Louisville and is the first enrolled member of Oregon’s Umatilla Tribe to win a college basketball scholarship. Jude, 19, is a sophomore and followed her older sister to college and basketball fame.

Amber said she was happy to see the sisters talking about when they played in the Final Four. “When I watched their games they played so well. Even though they lost they still played like really good. I just sat there and watched them play, I didn’t get up during the commercials, not even to get a drink!”

The morning began with a welcome, drumming, invocation and remarks from Eugene Stillday and songs sung by Anna Gibbs. The audience was full of Native people who traveled from the Twin Cities, Duluth, Fond du Lac, Cass Lake and Bemidji. Nelson Hernandez a coach and family friend and producer of Off the Rez (a documentary of the sisters) kicked off the presentation with the highlights of last seasons Final Four.

Watching the Baylor game the audience started cheering as Shoni and Britney Griner were going toe to toe and Shoni took it to the hoop over Griner. After the highlights Hernandez introduced the Rick Schimmel. Rick addressesd the Baylor highlights saying, “Some people ask where you were when JFK was shot, or where were you when 9/11 happened. And now we have ‘where were you when you watched the Louisville versus Baylor in the final four?’

Both parents and sisters give inspirational information for youth and parents. Their mother, CiCi Schimmel, said to the parents “Be strong, be tough” and to the kids she says “Listen to your parents.”

Jude emphasized “Be proud of who you are, cherish it.” Jude also said, “There are always ups and downs. Try to get the most positive thing you can get out of it.”

The audience listened attentively to the presentation and then had several questions for the Schimmels. A young girl asked Shoni, “What is your dream?” Shonie replied, “My dream is to play in the WNBA!”

Another audience member asked Shoni who she would want to play for in the WNBA? Shoni, who is in her senior year, has draft thoughts on her mind and she said, “Actually they did a mock draft and I was predicted to go 11th in the First Round to the MN Lynx.” Applause and cheers erupted from the audience.

Shoni won over everyone when she said, “We are just like you. We come from a rural reservation with 1 store and the only other place you could go is to the casino and the gym. We are the same, so I don’t you to think maybe I can be as good as Jude and Shoni. Be better than us.”

The Schimmels wrapped up the youth event with signing autographs and taking pictures, and they made themselves available to the entire audience. The event ended with a positive note from Rick Schimmels who announced that Shoni’s last home game is March 3rd 2014 in Louisville and everyone is invited to come and show support.

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