Schimmel Sisters Visit Red Lake


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


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


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


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.