March 2, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Chris Kielsmeier and Cleveland State are ready for Cinderella’s slipper 

Howard and coach Chris Kielsmeier chat about building a winning culture and Destiny Leo

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. After a 27-4 regular season, the Cleveland State Vikings have their eyes on even bigger prizes, head coach Chris Kielsmeier tells host Howard Megdal. The Horizon League power opens conference tournament play Thursday, but with a final looming against Green Bay, and a Net Rating in the 60s, figuring out how to thread that needle as a mid-major power is anything but simple.

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Chris Kielsmeier talks about building a winning culture:

“The first thing that we evaluate in the recruiting process is the person themselves and how much they care about the game? How much are they willing to put in chasing greatness when you are committed to success at the highest level, which everybody says they are? It really comes at a price as far as sacrifice and just how much time away from maybe family and friends and loved ones that you’re going to be there just to build something really special.

It takes a lot of people that are really committed to the goal at hand, and that’s for us on the court. It’s when is winning a championship and get into the NCAA tournament. And so when we evaluate players, it’s first and foremost about how much they have a desire to be in the gym and how much they love being a great teammate.”

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Chris Kielsmeier talks about Destiny Leo and why they need to see her in March:

“Well, she’s just a great person that works really, really hard. She wants to lead this team to a championship. She cares way more about team success than any individual honor. She loves the game. She lives in the gym; she works on her game year-round. And she wants to try to become the best version of herself that she possibly can.

There was a game earlier in the year. And we’re talking about the free throws; she scored 31 points. But she missed two free throws toward the end. And the one thing she wanted to talk about was she missed two free throws, got zero rebounds and had another column of zero, maybe assists or something. I look at my zeros and the two free throws I miss, so she’s a self-critic of herself.”

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