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Culture Exchange Highlight

Athlete Profile: Angel Goodrich

To sports fans, Angel Goodrich is one of the leading point guards in women’s college basketball. But to the people in her hometown of Tahlequah, OK, Goodrich is an inspiration to Native youth. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Goodrich is a senior at the University of Kansas and is one of the starting players for the women’s basketball team. Her success was not easy, however, and could not have been possible without the support of her family and community. It is Goodrich’s perseverance that makes her a role model to the Native youth back home. 

Before Goodrich attended University of Kansas, she was a student at Sequoyah High School, run by the Cherokee Nation. Goodrich played basketball throughout high school and led her team to four straight championship games and three title games. However, her height became an obstacle to achieving her dream of playing college basketball. At 5 foot-4 inches, Goodrich is much shorter than the typical basketball player.

In an interview with NCAA.com, Goodrich said: “People told me I wouldn’t make it or wouldn’t go anywhere because of my size – that pushed me. My mom also encouraged me and said I could do anything. That motivated me a lot. I wanted to prove people wrong and show them I could do it.”

And she did. Goodrich became one of the most highly sought-after college recruits. When the University of Kansas coach came to watch Goodrich play a game at her high school, she was surprised to see people lining up for tickets hours before the game started. This was a sign that Goodrich was special.

Goodrich joined the University of Kansas in 2008. In her second practice, she injured her knee. She missed the entire season. Halfway through her second year, Goodrich injured her knee again and had to sit out many games. The challenges were frustrating, but she worked hard and got back on the court. Today, Goodrich is one of the nation’s top college players. In addition, she has earned academic honors from the university.

But Goodrich knows there are plenty of other talented youth in Native American communities. And she wants to make sure they all have the opportunities to be successful, just like she did.

In a story by the Native American Times, Goodrich said: “I just want to be the person [Native youth] look at and say how I didn’t let anything get to me. I just want them to see the fight I have not give up no matter what happens.”

To read the full story from NCAA.com, go to http://bit.ly/Vbld5L. To read the Native American Times article, go to http://bit.ly/X0tKs7

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