June Visits, New Names to Watch, & more
The storm of the late recruiting cycle has subsided, leaving it quiet on the recruiting front lately. That will change when the long dead period is finally lifted on June 1st. Virginia is scheduled to host a few visitors, then coaches hit the road for evaluation periods five out of six weekends starting June 18th. It’ll be a busy summer of recruiting ahead.
Since Isaac McKneely committed, it’s been planned for his official visit to align with Isaac Traudt’s. It’ll finally come to fruition on the weekend of June 11th. The two of them and their families have become friends. He’s already been a help toward the cause. That’s part of the value in having an early commit.
Traudt has four official visits scheduled for June. He’ll go to Nebraska on the 4th, Virginia on the 11th, Michigan State on the 17th, and North Carolina on the 27th. With an unofficial to Creighton mixed in. I believe UVA is firmly the team to beat. If I were one of those crystal ball people, I’d slap a V-Sabre next to his name. His recruitment isn’t likely to end soon though. Should that be the case, It’ll be interesting how Bennett handles it.
There’s been almost no sign of activity with competing recruits, a testament to their confidence with Traudt. I don’t really expect that to change even when we get into July. With all due respect to these other recruits, Traudt is the guy they want most. He’s a 5-star elite talent in the Bennett rankings. And the addition of Milicic gave them the flexibility to ride this out if need be.
In No Rush
If you were waiting on Wagner (TX) point guard Austin Nunez to commit, you might need some patience. I talked to his dad this week. He said several schools want him to visit, but they aren’t in a rush to do that. They’ve already seen most of the campuses, including UVA. He’ll be playing with his high school team during the second scholastic live period, June 25th-27th. . Tony Bennett told him that would be his first stop of the weekend, in Texas to see Austin. I wouldn’t expect any movement in the meantime.
We also caught up with Swedish wing Bobi Klintman. He said he’ll wait until later to take visits, presumably this Fall when he enrolls at Sunrise Christian in Kansas. He did say Virginia is high on his list. The delay doesn’t bode well though. That’s part of why we’re seeing so many reports of UVA talking to other wing recruits. It’ll be a focus of the upcoming live periods, evaluating similar 2022 players. Kansas is deeply involved with Klintman. Arkansas has emerged as a serious contender too after his brother signed with Central Arkansas.
New Names for 2022
With live periods approaching, there’s an uptick in reports of “interest”. The coaches are reaching out to build relationships with potential recruits they plan to evaluate. More names will pop up in the coming weeks. I’m going to focus on the few that I think are in the front of the line to have Bennett courtside as soon as possible.
Loen Bond might be the most likely next player to become a serious target. The 6’5 wing from the Milwaukee area mentioned UVA interest from early on. He’s a phenomenal athlete that’s taken his game to another level with the improved skill he’s displayed this Spring. They’ll need to wait until July to see him in action. Expect Bennett to make a special trip during the first AAU live period to Bond’s independent event in Atlanta.
Pace Academy (GA) combo forward Josh Reed is another Spring stock climber in that wing category. Very smooth, skilled player that can score inside and out. His AAU teammate Stevie Bracey actually just committed to UVA football. Helpful little connection if they decide to pursue. He’ll be seen during the June scholastic periods.
Robert Jennings threw out an edit this week that had UVA included among the schools involved. He came to their attention while playing with Austin Nunez in a couple showcase events for TACA Storm, a homeschool team in Texas. A glue guy type power forward in the mold of Isaiah Wilkins. Bennett will get a close up look while down there for Nunez. Whether or not Jennings ends up recruited, they’ll continue to search for a similar player in the 2022 class.
Early Start for 2023
Get used to hearing the name Reed Sheppard. The class of 2023 North Laurel (KY) guard is scheduled for an unofficial visit on June 14th, right after the Isaacs. I’ve heard UVA has gotten a very positive reception from him so far. They seem to have the edge at the starting line. He’s really good, capable of playing either guard spot. Exactly what they’ll be in the market for in that class.
Both his parents played at Kentucky. His dad, Jeff Sheppard, was the MOP of the 1998 Final Four. UK will be involved. It'll be a high profile recruitment. Coaches can start contacting 2023 recruits directly on June 15th. They’ll be as much a focus during the live periods as 2022. You can bet on Coach Bennett being courtside for Sheppard this summer as much as possible.
Kyle Getter, formerly the Director of Recruiting, was recently promoted to Assistant Coach in place of Brad Soderberg whose new title is Director of Scouting. The change is all about recruiting. Only assistant coaches are allowed to recruit off campus, meaning Getter will be on the road starting with this summer’s live periods. Their titles are more in line with their responsibilities now. Getter has been deeply involved in recruiting for several years while Soderberg’s primary duties are in the area of scouting and game prep. The change has been in the works for a while. With the dead period set to be lifted, it was time to make it official.
Several recruits and parents have told me how much they’ve enjoyed their interactions with Coach Getter. He seems to easily connect with people. I think he's been a tremendous asset to the program. His value only increases now that he can go on the road and build relationships in-person. Expect the Midwest to be his turf this Fall when coaches make their rounds.