BOZICH | Jude Schimmel writes the book on catching your dreams
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Some basketball players leave school after rewriting the record book. Then there is Jude Schimmel. She's an author. She finished playing at the University of Louisville and promptly finished a nearly 200-page book.
Schimmel also huddled briefly with First Lady Michelle Obama at The White House last week after talking about issues confronting Native Americans, like those on the Umatilla reservation in Eastern Oregon where Schimmel grew up.
And she signed a deal with Nike to work as a spokesperson for N7, a line of performance gear marketed to Native Americans.
And she continued her stellar work in the classroom. Schimmel has nearly finished half the necessary credits for her masters' degree in sports administration, which will supplement the undergraduate degree Schimmel earned in sociology in three years at U of L.
And Schimmel reported to the gymnasium to sharpen her basketball skills in case she is selected during the WNBA Draft Thursday.
And she finished lining up appearances for her six-city promotional tour for the book, “Dreamcatcher,” which will be published Wednesday.
The book, which is priced at $20, is available for order at her website – www.JudeSchimmel.com. Or you can purchase an autographed copy Sunday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. when Schimmel visits The Cardinal Café on Crittenden Drive.
I hope I didn't miss anything, but as relentlessly as Schimmel keeps moving, anything is possible.
“I'm just really passionate about helping other people,” Schimmel said.
“I think that growing up on the reservation and then traveling across the country to talk to over 40 tribes and reservations, that opened my eyes to understand that a lot of Native Americans really go through a hard time.
“I want to change that. I want to help them get the opportunity that they deserve. There's a lot of statistics that I've been learning. Even though I was aware of the issues that go on in the Native American community, to see more of the statistics that been really eye-opening.”
She's talking about health care, education, employment, substance abuse, suicide and other issues that shape a disadvantaged culture. Some surveys say that 49 percent of Native Americans fail to graduate from high school and 91 percent do not earn four-year college degrees.
Schimmel put herself in the 9 percent with an undergraduate degree, an achievement she credits to her mother and father as well as the support that surrounded her at U of L.
“Being a Native American growing up on a reservation, I never thought I would have that chance (to attend college and play Division I basketball),” she said. “The fact that my parents moved off the reservation and moved us to a city (first Portland, Ore., now Sante Fe, N.M.), I had a chance to be looked at by college scouts.
“I really think it was because of my parents. They really dedicated their lives to me and my siblings. A lot of Native American kids don't have that.”
Now Schimmel, 21, wants more children to embrace her dreams. She divided “Dreamcatcher,” into three parts:
1. How she was raised and what she has accomplished in high school and college.
2. Lessons she learned while overcoming different “stresses” in her life.
3. Educating readers about “Native Americans and what we're all about.”
Schimmel self-published the book with an initial run of 5,000 copies. She plans to promote it vigorously for several weeks but Schimmel has plans to join her older sister, Shoni, in professional basketball. Shoni Schimmel was drafted eighth by the Atlanta Dream and was named MVP of the WNBA all-star game last season.
Schimmel said at least one draft website projects her as a third-round selection. But if she cannot carve a spot in the WNBA, she will pursue a career overseas.
Some said that Jude arrived at U of L as Shoni's little sister. That's not how she departed. She was a poised member of a senior class that won 112 games over four seasons.
Schimmel's final career numbers: 711 points, 392 assists, 221 steals and one inspiring book.
“When I was growing up, I had no idea that I'd be in the position I'm in today,” Schimmel said. “Even though I've accomplished a lot, there's so much left to do.”
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