As the fall and his senior high school season approached, Isaac Traudt was nearing closer and closer to a commitment decision. In fact, on a nightly basis in early September, he and his family took time to discuss their options, evaluate potential decisions, and pray.
Eventually, Traudt came to the realization that “my heart just feels like Virginia is the spot for me. So I just realized I might as well commit now and not wait.”
For the Nebraska native, Head Coach Tony Bennett was the biggest draw to coming to play for the Virginia Cavaliers. “Coach Bennett is the main reason,” Traudt says, adding that “he does a terrific job with wings, player development, and all that.”
Of course, the recent success of guys like De’Andre Hunter, Trey Murphy, and Sam Hauser at UVA and progressing into the NBA no doubt provided the evidence for Traudt that Bennett and the Virginia staff know how to get his type of player to the next level.
But, on a deeper level, Traudt admires Bennett as more than just a means to get him to the big leagues. “As good a coach as he is, he’s an even better person,” the Grand Island senior says, “he’ll definitely help me grow off the floor too, especially with our faith.”
Then looking past Bennett and the UVA program, there’s significant reason to be excited about the 2022 class for the Wahoos and that played a part in Traudt’s decision. He emphasizes how big of a factor “coming in with guys like Leon and Isaac and being in a culture of great guys that I think I fit in with.”
He adds that he thinks this 2022 group “could be really good,” and that “us three will mesh together.” That said, he’s uncertain “if they’ll add more pieces or not, but I think we’ll have a solid core and then there’s obviously really good players there right now too.”
In terms of Traudt’s fit in the Wahoo system, he notes that “I think I fit their style of play really well too.” Especially with how Bennett has begun to revolutionize the UVA offense, Traudt wagers that “the NBA level is really position-less so I think that’s the reason Coach Bennett does it and obviously why it works so well.”
Of course, that type of system is personnel specific, so Traudt notes value there is in having “7’1” guys like Huff who can step out and shoot threes,” and sees himself fitting in “really well like a Sam Hauser type, with those types of actions.”
In terms of the mold that Bennett envisions him filling for the Wahoos, Traudt says that “he sees me as a three or four,” and that Bennett made “the player comparisons to Sam Hauser and De’Andre Hunter — kind of those three-four guys.”
Bennett has also told his newest commit that “he thinks I’m pretty good at both sides of the ball. Obviously I’ll have to improve defensively. But playing at UVA will definitely help that and that was a big factor in why I chose them. But he thinks I have a really good skill set that can help contribute.”
Speaking of growth that Traudt is looking to make, he emphasizes that “physically, I have to get a lot better and defensively, rebounding too.” With that said, he’s confident that “offensively, I think my skill set will translate to the next level. Obviously I have to improve everything in that aspect. But I think the main things for me are defense and just strength right now.”
With Traudt’s commitment, not only do Virginia shore up what is likely going to be its best recruiting class since 2016, but also assemble the #IsaacSquared pairing that UVA fans have been dreaming of for so long. In fact, that type of branding is something that Traudt is excited about, especially with new NIL opportunities for college athletes. “It’s really cool,” he says, “seeing all the stuff — all the support from the fanbase. We talked that we’ll definitely have to get some #IsaacSquared merchandise at some point.”
Undoubtedly, the already incredibly popular group of 2022 commits will have the opportunity to do something incredibly special in their time in the orange and blue. With the uber-talented Traudt now on board, there’s no saying what this group’s ceiling is — and they seem to know that.