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Benched: MSU’s Suzy Merchant on recruiting virtually and the possibility of a 2020 season

DETROIT – A lot of us know what it’s like to work from home these days, but for a college basketball coach, that makes it tough when it comes to recruiting.

“I got three home visits done when I was on my way to Cleveland, Ohio and they started shutting everything down,” Suzy Merchant said. “So we had to turn around and come home as the university required us to do.”

Suzy Merchant has led the MSU women’s basketball program for 13 seasons and the record speaks for itself. Her Spartans have finished 3rd or better in the Big Ten eight times. She’s gone to the NCAA tournament nine times. But, getting a recruit to say ‘yes’ to MSU virtually is something new.

“For me that’s been the toughest part, not having them on campus at MSU,” she said. “We have an amazing campus, I love selling MSU.”

Merchant and her staff are making the best of the situation. They have weekly Zoom class as they try to stay connected while still apart. The question remains, will there even be a season?

“I think you have to be able to test and test quickly,” Merchant said of the 2020-2021 season. “One of the questions I have is ‘what if one of my players gets Covid-19? Do we quarantine that one person or the whole team?’ There are a lot of unknowns. We can’t social distance in basketball.”

Merchant said she will defer to decision-makers while preparing as if there will be a season. She continues to prepare for the future as well which includes staying in touch with all of the talent in Metro Detroit.

In the meantime, she said she’s working on her home-schooling skills with her two boys Brady and Tyler.

“I I think they want to go back to school,” Merchant said laughing. “Usually I can’t get them to go to school, now they want to go back. I’m doing my best. I write out their schedules and I sit in the middle of them at the table. I got back and forth between a 3rd grader and a 7th grader. I’m hanging on by a thread. Hang in there parents!”

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