Led by head coach Tony Bennett and assistant coach Kyle Getter, the Virginia basketball program pulled out all the stops in recruiting Grand Island Senior (Grand Island, NE) senior forward Isaac Traudt. Coach Bennett’s effort proved fruitful on Saturday (August 28) morning, when the consensus 4-star senior announced his commitment to the University of Virginia.
Following months of interest, Coach Bennett extended a scholarship offer to Traudt in January of 2021. From there, Bennett and Getter kept in weekly contact with the skilled 6’9” forward, laying out why he would be a good fit in the Cavalier program. The Nebraska star recognized the potential too.
“I think it would be a pretty good fit for me,” Traudt said of UVA in this March 5 EDGE article. “I like how they play offensively, how they utilize their wings like Sam Hauser, and even big guys like Jay Huff on the perimeter too. [Coach Bennett] showed me film of Sam coming off screens and shooting 3s, but also initiating actions. I definitely like their priority on defense with the Pack Line. We run something similar at our school. I think I could potentially go in and pick it up pretty fast. Off the court, I’m a big fan of Coach Bennett. I like how he is open about his faith because that’s how I am and I think it’s cool.”
“I think really highly of UVA and of Coach Bennett and Coach Getter,” Traudt added. “Coach Getter first reached out in September, just wanting to build a relationship. Starting around October or November they scheduled Zoom meetings. I was introduced to Coach Bennett on one. As my season progressed, they started having more interest. I sent them some games they requested. Coach Bennett saw I could guard guys, and that’s when he took it to another level and offered on Zoom. I can’t wait to see [UVA] in person.”
Traudt would make the trek to Charlottesville in the form of an official visit the weekend of June 11-13. Class of 2022 combo guard Isaac McKneely, who was already a Virginia commit, was on an official that weekend as well. At the conclusion of the official, Bennett asked Traudt how he felt about UVA.
“I just told him I was blown away with everything,” Traudt said. “I knew the staff were great people, but I didn’t know how the facilities were so amazing. The same with the campus. I knew it was historic, but it was more than I thought. I didn’t know there would be a cool college town either.”
Coach Tony Bennett’s goal when Traudt made his official visit on Grounds “was to give me the best feel for UVA as he can,” Traudt said. “His pitch to me is he thinks I’d have a really good chance to be special there, that it would be a good opportunity for me and I have the potential to come right in and make an impact. He thinks me and [UVA class of 2022 guard commitment] Isaac McKneely could help them get back to the Final Four.”
Grand Island Senior High School’s record-holder for most points in a season, Traudt averaged 16.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore. As a junior on a younger Islanders team that lost seven seniors from the previous year’s squad, the 6’9”, 215-pound Traudt faced double-teams on almost a nightly basis but managed to average 25 points and 9 rebounds per contest, helping the Islanders to a 12-11 campaign in 2020-21.
As you would expect with a consensus 4-star prospect, schools from all across the country were in pursuit. Creighton, Georgetown, Iowa, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Purdue, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin had offered heading into the 2021 summer AAU circuit. Texas and Gonzaga joined the list this summer following the talented big man’s impressive play with Nebraska Supreme on the Under Armour Association circuit.
Impressive morning performance for 2022 Isaac Traudt of Nebraska Supreme vs Houston Defenders here at UA Session I.
Good perimeter ball skills and superb shotmaking ability off the catch or the bounce.
Michigan State, UNC, Creighton, Michigan all in attendance. pic.twitter.com/SfAtbLE9C6
— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) July 10, 2021
Stretches of dominance for 2022 Isaac Traudt of Nebraska Supreme in a win vs Team Curry here at Under Armour Dallas.
Multiple triples off the catch and the bounce + strong moments as a passer in front of Virginia HC Tony Bennet.
May be the best shooting big in America. pic.twitter.com/I9JsO7O34W
— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) July 16, 2021
Have enjoyed watching Isaac Traudt for Nebraska Supreme here at UAA Finals. Great size, plays hard and can really stretch the floor.
Chris Beard and Tom Izzo among the heavy hitters on the baseline watching this evening.
— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) July 24, 2021
Traudt turned in a good performance the NBPA Top 100 Camp this summer too.
Fun week for @ittraudt at @Top100Camp! (Top 60 players this year due to Covid) Won ‘shooting champion’ at the combine making 73/100 NBA 3’s! Had the opportunity hang out with many great players and made many new friends! Thank you for inviting him! pic.twitter.com/zbs8bX9i62
— Brandon Traudt (@brandon_traudt) August 4, 2021
There were three live evaluation periods in July. Coach Bennett began each one by watching Traudt. Either Bennett or a Virginia assistant were on hand for most, if not all of the standout prospect’s AAU contests last month. Bennett also attended the Top 100 Camp.
Traudt visited five schools prior to making his decision. In June he took an unofficial visit to Creighton and official visits to Nebraska, UVA, Michigan State and North Carolina. He decided against taking more visits this late summer/fall and instead chose to make his pledge to the Hoos.
Watching Pop Warner football this morning! But guess what? It’s a Great Day to be a WAHOO!!!!!!
— Jason Williford (@CoachWillyUVA) August 28, 2021
Traudt’s commitment pushes Virginia’s class of 2022 into the conversation with the Hoos’ famed class of 2016, which included NBA first round draft picks De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome, NBA second round draft pick Kyle Guy, and Jay Huff, who has signed a contract with the Washington Wizards as an undrafted free agent. This class led UVA to the 2019 National Championship.
All four 2016 signees were consensus 4-star recruits and top 100 players in their class according to 247 Sports, which rated the class no. 7 in the nation. Guy was rated a 5-star prospect by ESPN while Jerome, Hunter and Huff were 4-stars, and they were all rated among ESPN’s Top 75 prospects in the nation. All four recruits were 4-star recruits and top 60 recruits according to Rivals.
Virginia basketball’s 2022 class is the first since 2016 to feature three 4-star recruits who are all Top 100 prospects according to ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports. Traudt is ranked no. 49 overall in his class by 247Sports, no. 60 by Rivals, and checks in at no. 73 in the 2022 ESPN Top 100. Wisconsin wing Leon Bond is no. 39 in 247 Sports’ Top 100, no. 72 in the ESPN Top 100, and no. 85 on the Rivals list. McKneely is no. 52 according to 247, no. 67 according to Rivals, and no. 96 in the ESPN Top 100.
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) August 28, 2021
Rivals currently ranks UVA’s 3-man haul the no. 8 recruiting class in the country, while 247 Sports ranks the trio the no. 4 class in 2022.
Virginia has three scholarships available for the 2022-23 season.
More on UVA Basketball’s Newest Pledge
Some notes and quotes on the new Hoo …
– Traudt, who grew from 6’0” to 6’8” his first two years of high school, caught the attention of Grand Island Senior boys varsity basketball coach Jeremiah Slough way back in elementary school.
“I can remember when he was in fourth or fifth grade at one of our youth camps,” Slough said. “He went elbow to elbow and hit 25 shots in a row, or something like that. I looked at our staff and we knew this was a kid who might help us in the future. We knew at the time he was in fourth or fifth grade that he had a unique skillset for sure.”
– Traudt has scored over 1,000 points in his high school career, holds the Grand Island Senior school record for points in a season and the single game school record for most points in a single game with 57. The 57-point outing came last season against Norfolk High School.
“It was fun. I really got going early,” Traudt said, recalling his 57-point outing, which tied a Nebraska Class A state record. “Our guys knew I was going early. Guys on my team did a really nice job of getting me the ball in good spots. I was able to get in the post and play on the perimeter. The other team was scoring. They were right there with us, but we won by 2.”
– Virginia’s recruitment impressed more than just Traudt.
“The thing I’ve loved about Virginia in this process is they are so deliberate and intentional,” Slough said. “I think they are really recruiting the person. They have had conversations with everybody close to Isaac. Virginia was one of the few high-major school to reach out to me directly. That’s definitely not been the case with every school.”
– Traudt’s fellow class members (and one of their parents) reacted to today’s decision.
— Isaac McKneely (@IsaacMcKneely) August 28, 2021
— Holly McKneely (@HollyMckneely) August 28, 2021
— Leon B (@leonbx35) August 28, 2021