In Indian Country, the name Jude Schimmel is instantly recognizable.
Jude recently appeared in the May issue of Glamour magazine as one of their Top 10 Women of College.
She was asked to submit an application form to Glamour and initially didn’t give it much thought, but she soon realized it was a pretty big deal.
“Why was I chosen? I’m just a little girl that grew up on a reservation,” she said to ICTMN. “I never could have believed I’d be in a big time magazine like that.”
“I’m so happy Jude got picked for the Glamour honor,” said Ceci Schimmel, Jude’s mother. “It was so up her alley. She loves fashion. She met great people, intellectual people that are on her level. It was fun to watch her be in her own element, going to Broadway shows and just going to downtown New York.”
The winners were selected based on grades and extracurricular activities in the communities. “We visited a bunch of different reservations last summer,” Jude said. “I think that was part of the reason I was selected.” The other part likely was that she won the Elite 89 Award at the NCAA tournament her sophomore year for having the highest GPA of any player in the Final Four.
Jude and the other nine young women met in New York City for a jam-packed three days. “It was a lot of fun and a really great experience,” Jude said, “and I actually built quite a few friendships.”
Jude finished high school in three years and is on track to finish college in three years as well. She will graduate this fall with a major in sociology and a minor in communications at just 20 years old. She will begin a graduate degree in the fall while playing her final year of college ball.
“A couple of us are going to have to step up and make a significant impact if we want to make a run in the NCAA tournament,” she said of her Louisville women’s basketball team, which lost her older sister, Shoni, to the WNBA. “I want to be more of a scoring threat and my shot needs to come quicker. Those are my biggest goals right now and obviously, being a senior, I want to be one of the team leaders that everyone can look up to and listen to.”
She says the Cardinals team will be very different with the leaders graduating, including her sister, who was drafted by the Atlanta Dream just days ago.
Jude and Shoni have been a positive influence on the lives of thousands of young Indian athletes. Jude never dreamed this would have happened. “Shoni and I were just playing basketball, trying to get a scholarship so we could get our education. The fact that it’s turned into this is great. Shoni and I take pride in it and understand what it stands for. We’re just trying to do our best and do what we can to pave the way for other people.”
Playing without Shoni for the first time at Louisville, won’t be a problem for Jude, according to her father Rick Schimmel. He referred to Jude’s junior year in high school, when Shoni was out with an injury and Jude took over. “She knows how to lead,” Rick said. Same thing during Jude’s senior year after Shoni graduated. “Jude took the reins,” he said.
Rick has seen her leadership qualities in action, especially since the national tournament ended and during Jude’s meetings with her teammates. “She’s being a leader right now. She understands how the team concept works and she’s going to make it work for everybody. I expect her to do awesome.”
Rick also talked of how Jude’s intelligence plays a big role in her approach to basketball. “She really sees things; even when she’s on the bench. I think she’s constantly analyzing things. She watches film different than the average player. She’s seeing things others won’t see and she recognizes it instantly on the court. That’s the intelligence side of her.”
Louisville coach Jeff Walz says, “Jude’s basketball IQ is as good as there is. She always wants to learn more. The intricacies of the game are what Jude really prides herself in.”
Ceci Schimmel was also Jude and Shoni’s high school coach and is often asked to speak at tribal events. Her two daughters have excelled, not only at basketball but in adapting to college life off the reservation. Ceci’s advice to other young Indian athletes is, “Take chances. Don’t let fear hold you down, and have faith. It’s better to have tried and failed than not to have ever tried. Sometimes God puts setbacks on you to set you up for even greater success.”