By Annika Schmidt
Tori Schickel has eight guaranteed games left in her college basketball career at Butler University. The 6-1 forward is a force in the paint and has made her mark with Butler women’s basketball by leading her team to the program’s greatest season since 1996, when Butler made it to the NCAA tournament. Schickel is one of three players in Butler women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 points. Her ability to impact the defensive and the offensive side of the game will be key once the Bulldogs push for a post season run.
Get to know the inside scoop on star player Tori Schickel as her career at Butler comes to a close.
Q: Tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up and what got you into basketball?
- I am from a small town called St. Wendel, in the south most part of Indiana. As I grew up the big thing was going out to the streets and playing basketball for fun. Really, what got me into basketball was my family. My family is very competitive. I have a lot of uncles who like to play a lot of sports, so they were the big ones who pushed me into it. We played every holiday and someone would always end up getting hurt, but it was always a lot of fun. They pushed me to be where I am today.
Q: How did your family impact your basketball career?
- I couldn’t do it without my family. Both my parents have traveled everywhere for me throughout AAU and even when I was younger. It is crazy to think about all the miles that they drove. Both my siblings followed and supported me in every way that they could. They were always there to support me and push me […]. When my brother got sick with cancer it really forced me to drive myself and to see what he was going through and the things he couldn’t necessarily do, motivated me to do the things that I could do that he couldn’t at the time.
Q: How did your brother’s fight against cancer help motivate you?
- He always had the mindset he was fine. He never took the role of the victim, asking why me? And that pushed me to think in the way he thought of things in every aspect of life. Never trying to play the victim card and never being that person who is down on themselves for whatever reason. That pushed me to work as hard as I can and to do things he couldn’t do all in ways he would be proud of me.
Q: Pivotal things that pushed you to pursue basketball?
- Back in high school I had a really good high school coach, he wasn’t necessarily the most sensitive, where we could have those talks. But he was a really tough coach and really pushed me in ways I didn’t think were possible. And then here at Butler I have had a lot of strength and nutrition coaches that have pushed me out of my comfort zone and those aspects are what pushed me further in the game.
Q: What was the recruiting process for you like?
- My recruiting process was a very long process. I was very indecisive. I wanted make sure I had all the details and Butler just checked out in every category […]. I really like the family aspect at Butler and you would never know what it feels like until you are in it. I really feel like it is just such a family here at Butler. I really like the tradition at Hinkle and the big time basketball feel with the feel of a small school as well.
Q: How has the family environment at Butler helped you as a player?
- It affects every aspect of your life. Having professors who support us and being out on campus and having people knowing who you are. It is just huge to have that support, knowing that these people are backing you. For our team it has been huge because it has been a coupe rebuilding years, but knowing people still support us and are there for us and want what is best for us has really been helpful to us.
Q: What was the vision coming into this season versus last year? What changed the team’s dynamics?
- For the four of us seniors, this is it. We sat down after last year and we knew we had gotten better over the years, but this is our last year. We knew we had to do something and go out with a bang. We really wanted to push ourselves as hard as possible […]. We also had those conversations with coach like this is where we want to go and this is where we see ourselves and they were right there supporting us every step of the way.
Q: How does it feel to reach 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 points in your college career? How supportive are your teammates and coaches?
- It is a great feeling, honestly those have been two of my goals since I have gotten here. I never knew those steps could happen here starting freshman year, but I have always had such supportive coaches who have always believed in me and have given me that chance and given me the opportunity with the ball in my hand on the court. My teammates also have supported me and are very confident in what I can do. That has really helped me grow as a player and a person with that confidence backing me.
Q: How has basketball shaped you to be a better person off the court?
- I am a health care and business major and a lot of the attributes we get in basketball transfers over in to that field as well, like working as hard as you can and being very dedicated to your school work. I think that’s something that basketball gives us. We are given a lot of resources to be as good as we can in academic settings. I think in many aspect basketball has pushed me to excel in the classroom as much as I have on the court. It is something you have to push yourself to do when you are so busy with basketball, but at the same time it is definitely a driving force to working in the classroom.
Q: What were some pivotal moments for you at Butler?
- There are a few. My freshman year we got to take a foreign tour over in Australia. That was amazing and was a great experience. Very blessed to have that opportunity. Basketball wise, Coach G can say he remembers the practice that everything changed for me freshman year, but I don’t remember it quite like that. But something just clicked in my head and I just felt like I can come out here and compete and contribute to my team in different aspects of the game. I hadn’t really had that confidence yet so that was a very pivotal moment. And then in school I switched my major sophomore year and that was so pivotal for me and everything started looking up and I could see where I wanted to go in my future.
Q: What is next for you after college basketball?
- I have thought about playing professional, but I am just going to have to see the opportunities I get. So it is definitely an option, but I am also trying to keep all the other options open as well, just in case. Thinking about getting my masters and my MBA and then looking as well to get a graduate assistant position to pursue the coaching side of things.