Times Sports Editor
Clay City High School graduate Carmela Roeschlein had little doubt that she wanted to be a part of Indiana University once she finished her high school career. She just didn't think that she was going to be a part of the Hoosier basketball tradition.
Roeschlein had an incredible career on the hardwood with the Eels, leading the program to three consecutive sectional titles and a berth in the regional title game in back-to-back seasons. However, she was ready to hang up her sneakers once high school ended despite offers to continue her career from a number of smaller colleges. That began to change this summer once the IU women's basketball program was taken over by former Bowling Green University head coach Curt Miller.
Roeschlein recently explained how interest began to pick up this summer from IU.
"I'm pretty sure Mr. Bell and Coach Ames sent them my name and contact info but weren't really pushing anything. One day the coaching staff added me on Facebook and they ended up calling and talking about the possibility," Roeschlein said. "As the next couple weeks went on, we started talking more and more and then they told me they would love to have me as an addition to the team as a walk on.
When Miller took over at IU when former coach Felisha Leggette-Jack stepped down, he found himself with just nine players on the Hoosier's roster and no incoming recruits as Indianapolis point guard Brittany Webb and Illinois' Haley Videckis were released from their letter-of-intent. Since then, Miller has quickly added some pieces with former Bloomington South standout, Kaila Hulls, who transferred to IU along with Claire Jakubicek. Roeschlein joins Jocelyn Mousty and Nicole Bell as incoming freshmen.
As graduation neared this spring, Roeschlein was faced with a decision to make a serious commitment to playing at the Division I level in addition to the academic rigors of Indiana University.
"I believe it was the last week of school when the possibility came up. My mind was set on not playing college ball and just attending IU. When I started to come in contact with the coaches, it all seemed a little unreal," Roeschlein said. "However, when I realized I had a spot on the team, I had to really decide whether that was a commitment I was willing to make."
It didn't take her long to realize that the potential positives outweighed the regret she might have been left with if she didn't take the offer.
"In the end I decided to play not only because of my love for the game but playing Big 10 basketball at Indiana University is a one time opportunity you really just can't pass up without regrets," Roeschlein said. "I love hard work and I love working towards things. Now I get to continue that on an even greater scale."
Miller has had a history of success at Bowling Green, compiling a 258-92 record over 11 seasons and his Falcons won eight consecutive Mid-American Conference titles. Once Roeschlein had a chance to meet with him and his assistant coaches, she admitted that her decision was finally cemented.
"The coaching staff is great! And yes I have met all of them in person. It's so comfortable and fun talking to them. I'm always laughing," Roeschlein said. "Coach Miller is great. He's had an excellent coaching history and I'm excited for what he's going to do at IU. I know he wants to start off by building up the team in the locker room as smart girls on and off the floor. He really wants the team to get after it and get better every single day. It's time to rebuild."
As part of that rebuilding for an IU squad that won just one conference game last year, the Hoosier coaching staff went after Roeschlein, who scored more than 1,500 points in her Clay City career.
"When I talked to the coaching staff, they first mentioned my 52-point game," Roeschlein said. "They liked the offensive part of that. They also liked my speed and work ethic and my ability to be smart on and off the court."
Once she accepted the walk-on offer with the Hoosiers, Roeschlein was charged with getting ready physically for the demands of collegiate hoops. Roeschlein, who was already known for her strength while at Clay City, expanded her work out regimen in order to endure the rigors of playing against bigger, stronger athletes at the Division I level.
"I run everyday. I also do asylum workout videos, which are specifically made for athletes. I do a lot of circuits and I'm in the weight room," Roeschlein said of her routine. "I work to improve my basketball game daily in the gym. And I also attended open gyms this summer at IU playing with my teammates."
While basketball will be a big part of her freshman year in Bloomington, Roeschlein has already enjoyed her short time on campus. One of three co-valedictorians at Clay City, she's already looking forward to the academic experience at IU.
"I've always wanted to go to IU since I've been little. It's a great academic and super involved campus," Roeschlein commented. "There are so many things to be a part of and do here. It's crazy. Also, the campus is absolutely gorgeous and I love the hippy vibe. I plan to major in psychology and they have a good program.
"There's not really one thing I can narrow down that I'm the most excited for. I just moved to campus and I'm absolutely in love," Roeschlein added. " I can't wait to get in the schedule and habit of workouts and practice. I'm excited to travel and really get to know my teammates. And just really ready to start this new chapter of my life and continue to better myself in each and every way each day."