What recruiting looks like now to a Cleveland State University coach since coronavirus struck

Coach Chris Kielsmeier doubled team's wins but COVID throws program for a loss

What recruiting looks like now to a Cleveland State University coach since coronavirus struck
Coronavirus stopped the women's basketball at Cleveland State and now affects recruiting during the off-season (Source: Vic Gideon)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The basketball season ended prematurely for the Cleveland State University women’s basketball program, causing anxiety for its head coach.

“Because of the uncertainty of everything and you’re scared,” said Chris Kielsmeier, who is in his second year at the helm, finishing 21-11.

The team made it to the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament before losing and expected a postseason tournament bid before coronavirus canceled the rest of the season.

Now, it’s affecting recruiting -- eight weeks spent watching games online instead of traveling the country.

“You have to find a way to make sure that you’re selling Cleveland State and you’re letting the top recruits that you’re recruiting, let them how interested you are,” said Kielsmeier. “And you also gotta to let them know how awesome Cleveland State and Cleveland, Ohio is. You have to make sure the players are actively hearing from from Cleveland State and our staff is doing a phenomenal job.”

What recruiting looks like now to a Cleveland State University coach since coronavirus struck

Kielsmeier knows about the effects of coronavirus firsthand.

“I was coaching on Monday in conference tournament semifinals of the Horizon League, biggest game for Cleveland State’s women’s basketball for the year,” he said. “Tuesday night I have the worst aches and pains and fever and everything that I’ve ever experienced and then a week later, I’m laying in a hospital bed for a week.”

He believes he contracted COVID on an airplane during a recruiting trip before the lock down and did not infect any of the players of his staff.

He said all the changes due to coronavirus -- less travel, more remote scouting -- might actually be part of the process moving forward.

“At times, early on, I really had a challenge adjusting to it,” he said. “Now, everything we’re doing, it seems like some of these things we’re doing will be incorporated long-term.”

Short term, Coach Kielsmeier is preparing for the opening tip-off at the Wolstein Center against East Tennessee State Nov. 10 to start the new season.

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