She was once titled as one of the most promising basketball players in the country.
Scouts chose her as the 17th-best recruit in the country.
She was a star for the University of Virginia. Her remarkable athleticism gave her the ACC Rookie of the Year that later evolved into the All-ACC First Team.
She was even the 27th overall draft pick in 2003, where she played with the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks after a few years playing in Italy.
She lived breathing basketball knowledge. She loved stunning basketball coaches. She cherished it all.
Yet, she cannot remember the last time she has touched a basketball.
Someone so incredibly outstanding has not played a game on the court. The reason: she is homeless.
Schuye LaRue is dressed in baggy clothes, appearing almost as a man. Her perplexed demeanor grasps the scaffolding of a building as she completes her daily pull up. A cigarette falls from her pocket during her push-ups.
In 2002, LaRue was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. After her freshman year at UVA, and the championship loss, she went to Italy to play. Here is a portion of the powerfully written piece that was in yesterday's Washington Post by Terrence McCoy:
Greg Raleigh, who runs a local nonprofit called Food for Fuel that uses athletes to teach youths about nutrition, heard about LaRue’s predicament. He’s now trying to get her off the streets. "She should be coaching," he said. Pathways to Housing, which links the homeless with housing, has also connected with LaRue, court records show.
But will she take the help? "She doesn’t want help," said teammate Robinson, sounding both exasperated and sad. Four other friends also said LaRue has refused their support — not an unusual response, say those who work with homeless people who are mentally ill.
Some of LaRue’s old Virginia teammates still search for her when they’re in town. Telisha Quarles found her in July near a 7-Eleven in downtown Washington. Once Quarles recovered from the shock of seeing her friend on the street for the first time, the two talked basketball for a while like nothing had changed.
"Her mind was there," Quarles said, and then repeated herself. "She was pretty good."
LaRue may have changed a lot mentally, however, her love for basketball remains.
Hopefully, she'll be able to get the help that she needs.