LINCOLN — The top basketball prospect in the state is ready to get a close-up look of his top collegiate options.
Grand Island star Isaac Traudt on Tuesday begins a busy month of recruiting visits that starts with a tour of in-state rivals Creighton and Nebraska and ends with a visit to North Carolina in late June. Like every other 2022 prospect, it’s his first chance, since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, to talk to coaches in person and walk around facilities.
And while the 6-foot-9, 215-pounder has a top group that includes CU and NU, he considers the visits crucial homework. The consensus Top 100 recruit is trying to find the sweet spot between being quick to discern what he likes without being in a hurry.
“We definitely need to get to campuses before we say we have any favorites,” Traudt said.
Creighton gets the first crack with an unofficial visit. Traudt, who averaged 25.3 points per game last season, has had a long relationship with head coach Greg McDermott.
“He’s been recruiting me basically since the beginning of this process for me,” Traudt said of McDermott, who just led the Bluejays to the Sweet 16. “They were the first school I got up to campus on and I like the style of play that they have. I could potentially be a good fit there.
Traudt’s role inside CU’s offense, he said, could mirror that of the most decorated Jay.
“I’m kind of similar to his son, Doug, so I feel like I could be utilized similar to how Coach McDermott utilized him,” Traudt said.
Nebraska has consistently impressed Traudt, too, in Zoom presentations with its coaching staff. When the NCAA announced this spring that it would ease restrictions starting in June, Hoiberg was the first to contact him, Traudt said, and lock in a three-day official visit starting June 4.
“They’ve been recruiting me really hard,” Traudt said of Nebraska, which just inked the highest-rated recruiting class in school history.
NU has a NBA-style pace-and-space style of offense, and Hoiberg’s track record of developing NBA players, is important, said Traudt, who is also intrigued by the addition of assistant Nate Loenser, who developed NBA All-Star Zach Levine.
“They’re going to have a really, really good program here in the near future,” Traudt said. Husker hoops is planning a massive visit weekend that runs concurrent to Nebraska football’s tentpole recruiting event.
Traudt will then visit Virginia June 11-13, Michigan State June 17-19 and, at the end of the month, North Carolina. He may reserve one official visit to take in the fall. Traudt is a Nebraska-raised kid, but he did not grow up with a favorite college basketball team.
“I’ve been to ten Husker football games and a couple of Nebraska basketball games, but I kind of just grew up liking players at the college basketball level, so I didn’t really have a team or anything,” Traudt said. “Trae Young was my favorite to watch in college. He could go score 30 every night against any defense.”
At GISH last season, so could Traudt. Typically facing two or three defenders, he averaged 25.3 points per game — dropping 57 on Norfolk — on his way to All-Nebraska first-team honors. The big junior season helped solidify his recruiting service ranking. Rivals has Traudt at No. 67, while 247 Sports composite service has him at No. 50, and Traudt said he made the biggest growth last season in moving without the ball.
“I had to improve in that aspect if I wanted to get shots and if we wanted to win games,” Traudt said. “Coach made that emphasis at the beginning of the year and I improved throughout the year quite a bit at it.”
This summer, Traudt is playing on the Under Armour Association circuit — one of three major AAU circuits — with Nebraska Supreme, which competed in Under Armour’s Memorial Day event in Indianapolis. UAA will have three more big events in July, where coaches can evaluate prospects in person.
According to 247 Sports, Traudt was impressive Sunday in tournament play.
“The Nebraska native rebounded, defended and made his teammates better on the offensive end of the floor,” read 247’s analysis. “He has good vision and passing ability for the position and when his shot is falling, it is understandable why he is a coveted high major target.”
Traudt said he wants to keep working on his ability to score off the dribble.
“My IQ and my unselfishness will take me a long ways, but I’d really like to get better at being more dynamic with the ball off the bounce,” Traudt said.