Star Kansas Jayhawks point guard Angel Goodrich, Cherokee, recently became only the second Native player drafted into the WNBA. On April 15, Goodrich was selected 29th overall by the Tulsa Shock. As a graduate of Tahlequah High School, Goodrich will be returning from her college career in Kansas to her home state of Oklahoma to join the Shock team that finished fifth in the WNBA's Western Conference in 2012. In the wake of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, in which KU was able to secure a Sweet Sixteen stand, Goodrich took some time to speak with ICTMN about the amazing achievements of Native American players like herself and the Schimmel sisters in 2013.
How long have you been playing basketball?
When I was little, my mom and dad were stationed at an Air Force base in Glendale, Arizona. They were always at the gym so obviously I picked up a ball then. I was very little. I started competing in second grade.
How do you overcome difficulty to achieve success?
I am teachable. I like to learn new stuff and if it is going to make me better or help me adjust to a different style of play I am willing to learn, listen to others, be a sponge and take everything in. If they're going to make me better I am willing to do whatever it takes. I think that is how my personality has always been. I want to get better every single day. If someone comes in and wants to teach me something new, I'm down for it no matter what their age is or whoever it is. That taught me how to get where I am.
Due to the recent draft results, you have become the highest-drafted Native player in WNBA history - how does that feel?
It feels pretty cool. Someone told me that, it is a great honor and I am blessed. I give thanks to everyone that has always been there for me to include my family, my friends and my teammates. I wouldn't be where I am without them because they motivate me, push me and obviously I do play with my teammates and they make look good. I give credit to them because they helped to get me where I am.
What was it like playing for Kansas University this year?
It was great. This was the first time this team has been so close. The bonds were great and everyone was playing for each other. It was a very special this year especially as a senior. Everyone was playing for us. It was a great last year. Making it to the Sweet 16 again was awesome. I enjoyed everything with these girls here, I always think we will be very close. There are so many memories with them.
Considering you made it to the Sweet 16 and the Schimmel sisters made it to the NCAA championship game, what are your thoughts on the contributions of Native American basketball players this year?
I think it is awesome. It is great to see other Native Americans enjoying what they're doing. Especially Jude and Shoni, they have accomplished so much and making it to the final four is such a great accomplishment. I am really happy for them. They surprised a lot of people. I love to see stuff like that. I totally give them props for what they did. I just hope they continue to do big things and show people what Native Americans can do.
What's to come in the future for you?
Right now, I am still waiting to confirm when I will be leaving for Tulsa. Training camp starts May 5, so I will be heading up there pretty soon. If I make the team, the season will start in 20 days. The first game is on the 28th. Hopefully I will get to be part of that. As far as everything else, I am just taking things one step at a time. I am excited and cannot wait. I just give thanks the Lord, because he has helped me get through a lot of things and this is truly a great blessing where I am at now.