Native American Community Recognizes Shoni Schimmel
Shoni Schimmel often recognizes her Native American following, signing autographs and taking pictures after games with those who travel to see the University of Louisville graduate who grew up on an Umatilla reservation in Oregon.
This week, it was Schimmel who was recognized for her prominence as a 2014 Native American "40 under 40" award recipient.
The honor, designated by Schimmel's peers, is for "showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities," according to a news release from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
Schimmel, a 22-year-old who now plays for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, was officially honored Wednesday night during a gala at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.
"The future of Indian country will be shaped by exceptional leaders such as Shoni who have proven their unrelenting dedication to enhancing the lives of those around them," said Gary Davis, President and CEO of the National Center. "It is truly an honor to bestow this award on such a deserving group of young leaders."
After a college career in which Schimmel led U of L to the 2013 national championship game, she was selected eighth overall by the Dream, making her the highest-drafted Native American woman in WNBA history. As a first-year pro, Schimmel averaged 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds mostly as a reserve but was also voted into the All-Star Game, eventually earning MVP honors after scoring a record 29 points.