As we head to the post-season soon, the FULL COURT PRESS reflects on all of the teams we have highlighted this basketball season, but given what happened in Norfolk on Monday night, it’s time to shine the spotlight on Grand Island Senior High’s Isaac Traudt.
You can find out most anything you want on the 6-9 swingman via the old Google machine, but his throwback 57-point effort in the Islanders 76-74 overtime win is one that deserved a good look at the history book. You can do that here with a list of NSAA single-game scoring performances.
Here’s the deal hoops fans. These games don’t really happen anymore. There are now 22 games at 57 points or more in the NSAA annals.
And, Traudt, a top-50 national recruit in the class of 2022, is about as humble as the come.
“Usually the other team has been bringing double and triple (teams),’ Traudt said after practice on Tuesday night. “They played us pretty much straight man the whole game. I was able to get to the rim and made a few tough outside shots.
“I didn’t think I had scored that many, to be honest. The guys did a great job of feeding me.”
It’s a performance that, in the past, has been reserved for a newspaper, not Twitter and social media. Consider just a few things to know how rare this one ends up being on the all-time list.
- Of the previous 21 games at 57-points or more, Traudt’s is the third since the invention of the internet — Ainsworth’s Jesse Carr scored 68 in 2005 and Fremont Bergan’s Wes Eikmeier scored 59 in 2008. Both played at Colorado State after high school.
- Only one game between 1980 and 2005 when former Husker and Atkinson West Holt standout Bruce Chubick scored 61 in 1989.
- After that, all of these efforts were in small-town gyms that might have been 60 or 70 feel long and many in schools that don’t even exist anymore. Ed Vondra’s 102-point effort for Brainard in 1922 likely won’t be touched. Forrest Francis scored 79 for Royal in 1957 and Milt Enevoldson 69 for Dannebrog in 1960; you get the picture.
- Traudt tied the Class A record held by Lincoln Northeast standout Jerry Motz that he set in 1964, which also stands out on this list. Six of the 22 performances at 57 points or more came in the 1963-1964 season.
Traudt’s performance was a little old school as well. He was 20-for-35 from the field and made just three 3-point baskets. He was also 14-for-20 from the free throw line.
For Grand Island coach Jeremiah Slough, Monday night turned into trying to figure out how to win a basketball game. The Islanders improved to 10-9 on the season, while the win is believed to be GISH’s first in Norfolk since 1988.
“I knew he had it going,” said Slough. “But, at the same time we are trying to win a game and we were pretty frustrated with our inability to get a stop on defense. So, you are just trying to manufacture a way get a win in a place you haven’t won in a long time.
“But, it makes it more special that we needed every, single one of them.”
Traudt currently holds 28 Division I offers and notes that the schools that are most in contact with him are Nebraska, Creighton, Louisville, Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Marquette. While he hasn’t made any campus visits yet, due to Covid, he’s also taking it in stride.
“It’s all I know since I didn’t really experience recruiting (before Covid),” Traudt said. “Really just a lot of Zooms — which helps put a face to a name –phone calls and texts.”
Slough said it is fun to have the players in his program around Traudt, just to see his work ethic.
“You see a kid that is trying to achieve his dream,” the coach said. “Often times at the high school level you are preparing kids for life after basketball and trying to instill some of the small, day-to-day things that life is going to throw at them.
“But, for our guys are able to watch Isaac go through the sacrifice and the time and the commitment and the dedication he is putting in right now it’s good for them to see it on a daily basis. He wants to play at the next level and he want to be an NBA player. He certainly has that ability.”
The Islanders now face a big finish before heading into district play. They’ll host Omaha North on Friday night before facing Class B, No. 1 Elkhorn Mt. Michael on Saturday at the Heartland Hoops Classic. Then, finish the regular season with a trip to Lincoln Pius.
For Traudt, who will play on the national Under Armor UAA circuit this summer with Nebraska Supreme, the high school season holds as much meaning as does the summer when he is being watched closely by college coaches.
“These guys (at GISH) are just really good dudes,” he said. “They are fun to play with. The bus rides, all that stuff is special. The high school experience is different and probably more fun than the summer.
“Hanging out with these guys and going to school with them everyday and playing for our community is something that is really special.”
Heartland Hoops Classic
The aforementioned Heartland Hoops Classic features eight games on Saturday and a national game on Friday night at Hastings College between Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Sunrise Christian (KS).
On Saturday, the eight-game slate will feature 14 Nebraska teams capped with Class A, No. 1 Bellevue West playing Sunrise Christian at 6:45 and the night ends with No. 2 Millard North facing Oak Hill at 8:30. This year, all games will also be streamed on a pay-per-view basis. Games and streaming information can be found here.