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How COVID-19 has impacted college basketball recruiting

Drake assistant coach Matt Woodley is his family’s “chief chaperone and lunch-maker.”

Iowa State assistant coach Daniyal Robinson is making Tik Tok videos with his kids.

South Dakota assistant coach Luke DallaRiva is in Phoenix spending time with his fiancé.

Colorado State assistant coach Ali Farokhmanesh is watching a Disney movie every night with his wife and three young kids.

For these four, and college basketball coaches across the country, life in March 2020 is not what they anticipated. They’d hoped to be playing meaningful basketball. They’d expected to be working out with their guys. And they’d certainly expected to be on the recruiting trail, watching prospects and gearing up for spring visits.

Then, coronavirus halted the world, and college basketball along with it.

The NCAA canceled its 2020 tournament. Then it enacted a dead recruiting period until April 15, meaning coaches cannot have any in-person contact with prospects. So, no campus visits and no in-home visits. Coaches the Register have talked to think the dead period may extend beyond April 15, too.

Spring is crucial for recruiting. It’s when players flood the transfer portal and teams try to fill up rosters. It’s when high school juniors learn which programs they like the most.

Now, a coronavirus-sized wrench is thrown into all of that.

“We can’t go anywhere,” Robinson told the Register. “We’re locked in.”

Water coolers being taken out of an empty arena, moments after the cancel order was put in to halt the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Fears over the virus that causes COVID-19 prompted the decision.

Schools still have to recruit in these uncertain times. Rosters still need to be filled because, at least right now, there are no plans to delay the 2020-21 season.

What that recruiting might look like, though, when schools can’t host targets for visits or go out to AAU tournaments to evaluate prospects, is up in the air.

“I don’t think anyone knows what to do,” said Ames point guard Tamin Lipsey, one of 2022’s top national prospects. “Players, coaches, programs — it’s all going to be different for everyone.”

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