Visits, live periods, names to know, & more

In just two more days, coaches will back on the road for the first time in what seems like forever. Five of the next six weekends are live periods. Things are going to get real busy around here, at least for me.

Secrecy from the UVA side is at an all-time high, and that’s saying something under Bennett. There’s surely things going on that we’re not aware of. And we’ll probably be in for some surprises in the weeks ahead. But that’s the beauty of in-person recruiting being back. They have to come out of the dead period closet and show their hand now. We’ll learn which recruits are important to them and who they’re truly interested in.

Visits

I think everybody gets the picture with Isaac Traudt, His visit was a smashing success. The whole recruitment has been that way. It’s an easy fit. I don’t get the feeling there’s much concern if it drags on for a while either. A lot of recruits are determined to wait until the Fall because that’s what they’ve been told is the right way to handle it. Usually guys that take off early like Traudt get tired of all the activity and realize there’s no point in continuing. These 2022 kids haven’t had that chance.

In a way, there isn’t any competition for Traudt right now. Nebraska thinks they’re next in line and that’s probably right. But the only decision within these next three months is whether he’ll commit to UVA or let coaches into the living room in September. I’d bet on him being back at UVA this Fall as a commit with McKneely helping recruit other classmates.

2023 guard Reed Sheppard was in town on Monday. That’s all I know for sure. He and Isaac McKneely will play at separate events in Kentucky this weekend. It’s convenient for Bennett to slide through for both. I’d guess those are his first stops on Friday. Their game schedules set up well for it. Sheppard is an interesting test case for whether UVA will go ahead and offer scholarships to’23 kids or wait as we saw with 2022. The excuse of not seeing them won’t fly this time.

Established 2022 Recruits

The time is coming where UVA has to either go all in on Wagner (TX) PG Austin Nunez or risk letting him get away. He put things on hold this Spring, took no visits. It’s been ours to grab. Bennett is supposed to see him play in Texas next weekend. It won’t surprise me if he commits shortly after. It also won’t be surprising if they back away entirely.

I’m a little skeptical of their involvement with Westtown ¶ guard Jameel Brown. Obviously, UVA is interested. But he could be overstating things a bit. We’ll find out how urgent it is to Bennett soon enough. Westtown will be in action each of the next two weekends. At the Hun School in New Jersey this weekend. Someone from UVA should be there. Not just for Brown but also 2023 Phelps ¶ big man Isaiah Miranda. UVA and everybody else is anxious to get a look at him.

Despite the lack of an offer, Virginia is actively recruiting Wauwatosa East (WI) wing Leon Bond. Involvement with him has intensified over recent weeks. He’s essentially the top wing target I believe. He seems to have pulled back on things a bit though, canceling some visits. Slowing it down with all the new interest coming in. He still has an official visit scheduled to Marquette in early July. It’s a transparent attempt by Shaka Smart to try to close him out just before other coaches get to see him. Assuming that doesn’t happen, UVA will be a factor.

Others to Watch For

TACA Storm (TX) PF Robert Jennings will get his chance to be seen by the boss next weekend. I think he’d be hard to pull away from the region, but first things first, deciding whether to go after him. We haven’t heard much about Dorman (SC) big man Noah Clowney since early Spring when he broke out. He’s playing these next two weekends, expect UVA to check in. Dumont (NJ) PF Dominick Barlow is of definite interest. As far as I can tell, he isn’t playing until the AAU periods though.

They haven’t contacted that many guards that I’m aware of, which probably bodes well for Austin Nunez. Denver Anglin out of Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) is one to look for. Sharpshooting combo had a blowup spring. It might turn out to be too late, but UVA will check him out. He’s in Philly this weekend.

Lots of wings on the radar. Definitely will be seeing Christian Watson from St. John’s (DC) these next two weeks. Ven-Allen Lubin out of Orlando Christian is a blowup waiting to happen. He’s in GA this weekend. So is Pace (GA) wing Josh Reed, but I get the feeling he doesn’t fit what they want. BB Knight from Tompkins (TX) has suddenly gotten popular. He’ll get a look

The Wrap

To me, these live periods are the best part of recruiting. I’m really excited about it, especially for July. But I’m also curious if UVA gets back to some kind of normalcy with the way they approach recruiting. The last few years, they’ve been extremely reluctant to offer scholarships. Hopefully now that coaches can see kids play live again, they’ll loosen up and let it fly a little. That’s always been Tony Bennett at his best this time of year, trusting his own eyes.

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Does it make any difference where J Willy is compared to the other assistants? Obviously the kids Tony goes to see are under serious evaluation. But Tony can’t be in two places at once. So for the players Tony can’t see is there a hierarchy with the assistant coaches? Or is just they send whichever guy can make it based on how the schedule and locations work out?

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It will be very interesting to see what happens with Nunez. Doesn’t seem like CTB has fallen in love with him like he has other PG prospects in the past. But maybe that’s just due to a bad AAU fit

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Not for the live periods. When we get into the Fall, yeah. Williford does more actual recruiting than the other assistants. He’ll go see guys they’ve already offered.

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That’s actually been part of the change of not offering scholarships easily too. Before, Bennett let his associate head coach make offers on their own. Sanchez and McKay did it all the time. Williford not so much but when he saw a no brainer he didn’t hesitate. First time he saw DayRon Sharpe, he offered at halftime. lol I don’t know if they’ll ever get back to that, but it sure was more fun.

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Jay asked me one time if they should offer a kid I knew well here in Jersey City. I was like dam man thats some pressure!

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Well, what’d you say?

First surprise.

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Made the offer. ha

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Cept he went to Ohio State ha

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Luther Muhammed right?

yessir. used to work him out in my building. And Jhavon was around some too

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Oh, wow. He was the kid I was most excited about that year. Solid at shooting, scoring and ball-handling, really got after it on D and an attitude I think we still need more of. Seemed like we had a real chance at him, too. Was a shame it didn’t work out.

We were really close. Jay Willy did a great job but was also a little late cause of focus on Jhavon (they were same HS team). Luther was scheduled to visit after visiting OSU (football game weekend there) and he commited during that visit.

He would have been a beast for us in the Packline for sure. Hard worker and good kid.

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Some of the relevant places to be this weekend.

Kentucky/West Virginia Team Shootout in Ashland, KY Isaac McKneely will be there

Titans Rockets Summer Shootout in Shelbyville, KY Reed Sheppard is at that one.

DC Live at Maret Christian Watson

DMV Live at Dematha A lot of 2023 guys they’ll want to see. Carter Lang, Jahnathan Lamothe, etc.

GSHL Team Camp in Emerson, GA Huge event. Josh Reed, Ven-Allen Lubin, several of the 2023 names we’ve heard.

Mid-Atlantic Independent School Shootout in Princeton, NJ Small event with some top talent.
Jameel Brown Dereck Lively Isaiah Miranda

NC D-1 Team Camp in Advance, NC Lots of top public school teams from NC and VA.

NC Independent Team Camp in Lewisville, NC Smaller event for NC private schools. Jaydon Young Bryce Cash

Philly LIve Mega event Denver Anglin Justin Edwards Alphonzo Billups

SCHSL Scholastic Camp in Rock Hill, SC Brandon Gardner Noah Clowney.

Virginia Live Period Shootout at Blue Ridge For VA private schools. Maliq Brown, Curtis Blair

Indiana Top 100 Showcase One day showcase. Xavier Booker and a couple other 2023s tied to UVA.

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Do you happen to know the times for the camps in Lewisville and Advance NC?

Everything starts at noon tomorrow and runs through Sunday afternoon. That’s the window coaches are allowed out. I don’t think any of these events are open to the general public though.

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Well damn. I go to Advance all the time and Lewisville is on the way. I was thinking about riding down there