Prior to the departure of center Trey Jemison, who entered the NCAA transfer portal last week and plans to transfer from Clemson to UAB, the Tigers did not have any scholarships to give out.
So, the coronavirus pandemic — and ongoing Division I recruiting dead period — has not had a significant effect on Clemson’s basketball program in terms of recruiting for the near future.
“We haven’t had a lot of scholarships available. Obviously we have one now with Trey,” Brownell said to The Clemson Insider this week. “We haven’t had one, so we really haven’t had to have all the spring visits because we’ve been full. So, we’ve just been doing the normal FaceTimes and phone calls and things of that nature with a lot of the underclass guys that we’ve been tracking for most of the year. I do think there’s been some legislation now where you are going to be allowed to do some more virtual things, and so we’re going to probably begin to do that a little bit more, depending on how long this goes.”
The NCAA this week extended the dead period — which prohibits face-to-contact and in-person scouting — through June 30, and it would not be surprising to see the dead period extended further.
Typically, this time of year, Division I men’s basketball coaches are allowed to visit high schools and watch prospects compete during the evaluation periods, which were slated for certain dates this spring and summer.
So, Brownell and his staff, like others nationwide, have had to adjust to not being able to hit the road and check out recruits in person like they normally would have.
“It’s been a little bit challenging because there’s a lot of kids that you still want to evaluate and see in person that we haven’t been able to do because we lost our April recruiting weekends, and then it looks like we’re going to lose the June and July recruiting weekends that we always use in the summer,” Brownell said. “So, it’s made it a little more challenging. We’ve had to watch more video. We’ve also had to do a lot of work on the phone, but that’s standard operating procedure.”
More than anything, though, Brownell believes the virus has impacted his program’s recruiting efforts by wiping out on-campus recruiting for the time being.
Like everyone else, Clemson is not able to host recruits for visits, which is especially a big deal for the Tigers in Brownell’s opinion as they try to compete in recruiting with other ACC teams and show off what makes Clemson different and special.
“I think what’s hurt us a little bit is I think you sell Clemson by the feel and by getting people on campus and experiencing what Clemson is all about and face-to-face interactions,” he said. “I think that’s Clemson’s best sell and probably my best sell, and so we try to do that as much as we can. Unfortunately, that’s where the COVID situation has hurt us a little bit because we haven’t been able to get as many folks to campus as we would like.”
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