With college sports operating under a cloud of uncertainty, the CPP women’s basketball team has adapted to recruiting and managing the transfer market as they await the NCAA’s decision on the fate of the upcoming season.
Women’s basketball Head Coach Danelle Bishop is entering her 11th year at the helm of the program. For Bishop and her coaching staff, recruiting can be an arduous process at times. Finalizing the recruits and transfers for this upcoming season was all but completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team lost six seniors off last year’s team, making the transfer portal to bring in players for this season a very effective resource. Coaches can subscribe to recruiting services to find out which players are transferring with the transfer market continuing to grow year after year.
“Even just from two years ago to this last year I couldn’t believe it,” Bishop said.
Junior Ciara James recently transferred into the program from Division I school Weber State University. James made the decision to transfer before the pandemic.
“It was really hard to make a decision to transfer … what was best for school determined it a lot because I didn’t want just a good basketball school, I wanted a school with good schooling,” James said.
The transitional process into the program has affected the incoming transfers and recruits the most. Being new to the university, they have not yet had the experience of practicing as an entire team. Team meetings are all conducted over Zoom and athletes are restricted from practicing in person.
Despite not being able to meet her teammates formally, junior Aujane Mayes, a recent Mt. San Antonio College transfer student, felt like the team has been able to bond effectively online.
“Based on our Zooms that we’ve had as a team, we can already sense we have a connection,” said Mayes. “It feels like I’ve known these girls in person for a long period of time.”
Due to the pandemic, players have been relegated to their homes. For junior Cosette Balmy, an incoming transfer from Pasadena City College, returning home meant returning back to France. Balmy’s return home in late April was her first time seeing her family in person in eight years. Balmy has had to balance going to school and being a part of the team, all while simultaneously dealing with a significant time difference.
“I had classes at midnight or 4 a.m. or 2 a.m.; I would have team meetings at 11:30 p.m. and then right after that I would have class,” Balmy said.
At the beginning of the month, she was able to move near the campus and adjust to the time change. It is Balmy’s first time being in California since the pandemic hit.
Bishop’s team consists of four transfer students. The experienced players have provided Bishop with less uncertainty — something that can be seen as a luxury given the circumstances.
“I keep telling them there’s no playbook for this … at times it can be stressful, it can be uncertain, so it’s been nice having players come in with a little bit of experience,” Bishop said.
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