Recruiting Intel Briefing

Unless you’ve been awol, you already know the big news of yesterday. 2022 Poca (WV) guard Isaac McKneely will announce his college choice on Saturday. Crystal balls are flooding in. 100% Virginia. You get the picture. Nothing is for certain until he says it, but odds are we’ll all be in a good mood shortly after 2pm Saturday. He’s the guy Tony Benentt has wanted most from the get-go. Those players usually work out pretty well.

They probably could have gotten him to commit a long time ago, as far back as summer. He wanted a chance to go through the process, such as it is under the circumstances, so they gave him a little room to do that. Once the offer came last month, that was sort of Tony saying it’s time to get serious. I think the tipping point is that he and the coaching staff see the opportunity for him to help with other recruits, specifically Isaac Traudt to start. More on him in a minute.

So where does this leave St. Anne’s Belfield guard Justin Taylor? In limbo for now. UVA will probably still be an option when the dust settles, but it’ll be somewhat dependent on how things play out during this Spring’s late recruiting cycle. And a big part of it is how much he wants to stay home. If McKneely is on board, it’s a crowded backcourt. Others will offer a much clearer path. The equation will have changed for him, that’s for sure. We’re hoping to have him as a guest on the Locker Room Access podcast with Mark Jerome soon.

Grand Island (NE) forward Isaac Traudt picked up an offer last week. They’re very hopeful about him. In fact, there was mild disappointment that he didn’t say yes on the spot. Bennett is pushing hard. They don’t want this to drag out and turn into a blue-blood affair. One UVA source compared it to Kyle Guy’s recruitment for that reason. It’s important to get it done early. They’d also like some clarity on their long term needs ahead of the Spring cycle. Even though they didn’t get an initial knockout, there seems to be confidence it could come in the next few months.

As of now, they’re essentially evaluating and planning to recruit around Traudt. That’s how serious it is. The search is on for a complementary big man. Athleticism and rim protection at a premium. Westtown (PA) center Dereck Lively is a definite candidate. Watch out for Calvary Christian (FL) PF Taylor Hendricks. The coaching staff has been asking around about him a lot down there. And Blue Ridge PF Maliq Brown is a bit of a mystery. He could reclassify up to 2021. I’m not sure how serious UVA is with him right now or if he’s seen as a fit with Traudt, but they’re involved. Mark Jerome is working on booking him on the pod too.

Despite the lack of offers, a point guard is on the 2022 agenda with Kihei set to graduate. There’s a little concern over not yet identifying firm targets. Along with trying to close out Traudt, that’s the urgent priority right now. They like Austin Nunez out of Wagner (TX) a lot, but it’s unclear how attainable he is. Anyone that’s followed recruiting under Bennett knows he is super picky about his floor general. He wants to be out there in-person evaluating these kids. I expect we’ll keep seeing names pop up until they settle on one or two. Seth Trimble obviously has their attention. Watch out for Oak Hill sophomore Caleb Foster too as a potential reclass up.

On the 2021 marathon front, Paul VI guard Trevor Keels is a long shot at this point. It’s become purely about his immediate role and UVA just doesn’t have the setup. They’re still involved, so there’s always that chance his mindset changes. For now, it’s bleak. And forget Efton Reid. UVA is not in the picture there, really haven’t been for a long time. Mostly by choice. He’s trending to Pittsburgh.

I’ve said this before, but buckle up for a wild late recruiting cycle when the season ends. That’s a consistent theme I’ve heard all around. They’ll be in the market for a plug and play power forward or center. A long term big man or wing would be of interest, part of why they haven’t fully engaged with similar 2022 recruits yet. And they’ll chase the right bucket getting guard too.

A final non-recruiting note. I’ve heard the one postponement they’re making every effort to reschedule is the home game vs Virginia Tech. Expect a return date for the Hokies in JPJ.


I don’t see how we could take JT without multiple defections. Maybe one, but that would still be crowded.


@HoozGotNext great stuff! Love these posts.

Re: focusing on an athletic forward to complement Traudt, would you expect the team not to make offers until they get a commitment from Traudt (or alternatively he commits elsewhere / recruitment becomes a marathon)? Seems like that position is one of the clearest needs going forward but there isn’t a top target yet.

We can still add another shooter in searching for the DeAndre Guard yeah I dont see how we take Justin Taylor.

They’ll be after something in that neighborhood either way. It’s just if Traudt is coming, rim protection and defending centers is a must from the other guy. Doesn’t necessarily need to be a true center, just someone that can defend them. That’s why I don’t know about Maliq. He might be the reverse side of the coin that you pair with a skilled true big.

As far as actual offers the way they’ve done things recently, you might not see any until they’re done with the late cycle when they’re 100% ready to take someone.


Is there any DC or Virginia recruit outside Taylor (and possibly Maliq Brown) that you think gets an offer?

Do you know how heavily interested staff are in Chris Bunch and Alphonzo Billups (meh)? Of course without evaluations its hard to see any progress but is there that effort in reaching out to these two over the dead period?

There’s an uptick in activity with wing players. It’s all just about identifying potential targets to build relationships with for now. A few like Colin Smith where we know he’s good enough, but still aren’t ready to truly recruit for the spot yet. Bunch and Billups are in there somewhere. Not sure about the contact routine but they keep in touch with them all.

Darren Buchanan from Wilson (DC) fits into that athletic wing category. Local scouts will tell you he’s a top prospect in the area, while national people haven’t discovered him yet. Lots of that this year. Efrem Johnson is an under the radar 757 guard Bennett liked at that event he got to go to because of Eli. And PG Rowan Brumbaugh is a DC kid although he goes to prep school in Mass. There was some talk that he might come back closer to home since they’re not playing this year, but guess not. Fitting time to mention him after I just saw this tweet.


Got it. In my dream world we find a way to both take Collin Smith and Chris Bunch on top of traudt McKneely PG Hendricks and pitch Chris Bunch the redshirt path for Hunter cause the kid needs to gain muscle. And then pick up a gradtransfer big in 2021 and then use that same scholly for 2022 for a talented prospect big to back up Kadin. The 2022 class is loaded and we essentially used 7 scholarships on the 2016 class too, right? LOL (Jerome, Guy, Hunter, Huff, Mamadi, Braxton, Hauser).


@HoozGotNext Any info on why Donald Hand Jr or Jayden Epps wont be heavily recruited by us most likely (I mean I can guess playstyle on Epps and I heard a rumor about politics or something about Hand Jr but probably isn’t true)

Also which, if any, recruits were actually scared away by the Charlottesville riot during that 2017 recruiting cycle?

Whoah we’re getting all over the place here. lol I don’t really know any specifics on Epps. With Hand, he’s mixed in with a lot of the same clique as Cameron Thomas (LSU), who UVA knew from the start would be a waste of time. So I suspect there’s a similar vibe. They have had contact with Hand though. Short of it, is they’re all about finding a spot for him to “rock”, open opportunity with plenty of freedom. How it was with Cam anyway. DJ isn’t quite on that level as a prospect.

I don’t think there’s any one recruit you could say the Aug '17 mess cost them. It was more the timing that kept them from getting a foot in the door with a few. Was right after July evals. They had just made a bunch of fresh offers to 2018 kids and most of them just wrote UVA off. David Duke (Providence) definitely did. I suspect it led to David McCormack (Kansas) doing the same. Add up a lot of maybes and there probably would have been a yes in there but no one specific. it was just such a screwed up situation at the worst possible time. Charlottesville was a toxic word right when they desperately needed to get recruits on grounds.

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Cameron Thomas was quoted as saying Coach Wade recruited his mom harder than him. So damn funny that was said about “strong ass offer”… be curious as to what type of bag his mom is sporting to games nowadays…I remember a podcast of Titus and Tate where they were making note of the expensive handbags that the moms were rocking…


Don’t write Donald Hand Jr. off. Things picking up a little bit with him. Coach Williford got to attend the Commonwealth Basketball Group Fall Series event last week because his son Austin participated. Getting to check out Hand was an added perk. I think they’re eyeing him as a possible point guard target in 2022. Needs to show he can be that floor general. Nothing serious yet but a little smoke building. He did mention UVA in a 247Sports article today as one of the schools involved.

By the way, a scout in attendance described 8th grader Austin Williford as a “rising stud”. “Long 6’2 throws down windmills easily, moves well, and can shoot it”. “Potential top 25 player nationally”


If he gets five stars and doesn’t come to uva I’m gonna be pissed!



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he obviously got it from his momma


Maybe Duke hires Jay Willy just to get young Austin. Escalade Escalade


Shit if it comes down to that I’ll get the kid an Escalade. Hope used is ok though.


Jamie Shaw of rivals put in a futurecast the other day for Traudt to Creighton. Just FYI. Sounds like we know who our top comp is. Solid program close to home.

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Jamie is definitely using the FutureCast feature as what its intended for, one of the few. Shows outside folks haven’t really caught wind yet of how serious UVA is. I feel pretty sure we’re in the best shape. But probably not as solid as our side wants either. There was real hope for a knockout blow on delivery.


From reading Franklins interview with McKneely it sounds like that was our knockout upon delivery for the cycle :grinning:. Also tells us what we all assume that CTB isn’t gonna overtly pressure a kid but they’ll get a slowly building gentle nudge. Sounds like Traudt is at the early stages of that gradual buildup after the offer.

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