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Standout to Stand-Alone: The tragic story of Schuye LaRue

E:60 will be featuring this Sunday, a heartbreaking story on how one of the most promising women’s basketball players in the game, went from stardom to homeless. Swish Appeal caught up with Shelley Smith in her two-year experience with Schuye LaRue. 

Awed by her talent, scouts and coaches alike, predicted her to be the next up-and-coming star of women’s basketball.

As the 17th-best recruit in the country and the top player in her district, her early transition into collegiate athletics did not disappoint.

A freshman in 1999, she was named All-ACC, and led the University of Virginia to the Sweet 16.

Her name is Schuye LaRue. It’s pronounced “sky.” Broadcast analysts believed, much like her name, the sky was the limit.

After an impressive sophomore year, LaRue, abruptly and inexplicably, walked off the court.

Her whereabouts became a mystery: Schuye LaRue, the shooting star that was seen only for a moment.

How could an athlete with so much potential give it all up?

Unanswered questions lingered for years; until now. From standout to stand-alone, follow E:60’s Shelley Smith, as she reveals the true story of Schuye LaRue, for the very first time. I spoke with Smith about the experience.

“It keeps me up at night,” said Smith. “It was remarkable, and it took two years because we wanted to spend as much time as we needed to capture what her life was like. At first, I was nervous. You don’t know which person will be present when dealing with a mental illness. She was very welcoming though, and we had fun. We walked the streets, rode the subway and laughed together. It wasn’t until my most recent visit this past January where she didn’t remember who I was. It was sad and frustrating. It truly gave me an awareness of what mental illness can really do to you. I feel like I want to help, but can’t. I’ll never stop thinking about her.”

See her heartbreaking story this Sunday, July 30 at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.