Photos by Thor Macht
Trinity Episcopal rising junior big man Armando Bacot, recently made an unofficial visit to both Duke and North Carolina – and since that time has picked up two stellar offers from Louisville and Tennessee.
Louisville, coached by Rick Pitino, plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cardinals finished last season with a 25-9 overall record and 12-6 in the ACC. The team, which won a national title in 2013, was ousted from the NCAA tourney in the second round by Michigan 73-69.
There are no players from the state of Virginia on the Louisville roster.
Tennessee, coached by third-year coach Rick Barnes, plays in the SEC. The Volunteers were 16-16 overall last season and 8-9 in the SEC. They have one player, James Daniel III, from the state of Virginia. Daniel played his high school basketball at Hampton.
The big June swoon for Bacot followed a good month of May too.
On May 30, the Titans big man got an offer from one of the best big men to ever play college basketball – Patrick Ewing – the new coach at Georgetown. The NBA Hall of Famer extended his long reach to Bacot for an opportunity to play on the big stage in Washington, D.C.
Three days before that, the five-star player received an offer from Oklahoma State.
“I feel like I have had just a great time playing the four and showing my versatility and ability to do a lot of things,” Bacot said following Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest in Hampton.
The Hoyas, which play in the Big East, went 14-18 overall last season under the direction of John Thompson III, and 5-13 in the Big East. The current roster has one player, junior Kaleb Johnson, from the state of Virginia. Smith, from South Hill, finished his high school career at The Carlisle School in Lynchburg.
On the other hand, the Cowboys also coached by a new coach in Mike Boynton, play in the Big 12 Conference. They went 20-13 last season and were 9-9 in the Big 12. They have no current players on their roster from the state of Virginia.
These events coming on the heels (pardon the pun) of a strong May for Bacot.
Early May, the player listed in the Top 25 on Rivals for the best players in the Class of 2019, has picked up seven offers from Texas A&M, N.C. State, Harvard, LSU, St. Louis, VCU and Villanova.
Bacot, who started his freshman season as a role player, has developed into one of the nation’s top big-man recruits in the Class of 2019.
The VISAA all-state player averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds and led the Titans to the VISAA Division I state title. It was the Titans’ first state championship in more than 20 years and the team finished with a remarkable 35-1 record.
Bacot, with his 7-2 wingspan, already had impressed with five offers from teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference including Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
With each offer, the sophomore at Trinity Episcopal is starting to carve out his own piece of history at the school.
Bacot is the No. 1 prospect for the Class of 2019 for Vantage Hoops and the No. 2 prospect on Matthew Hatfield’s VirginiaPreps.com Basketball Prospect Rankings – Class of 2019.
Bacot received his first offer on Feb. 26, 2016 from Central Florida but the month of June was exceptional for the youngster, after a terrific AAU season, as he received four straight offers from James Madison, VCU (under Wade), Georgia Tech and Richmond. The Dukes came calling on June 8, and the Yellow Jackets made their pitch on June 9. He picked up the Spiders offer on June 18.
And it hasn’t let up since.
“I think that they see Armando is working so hard, he’s improved every aspect of his game, and he keeps growing,” Trinity coach Rick Hamlin explained. “He’s also trimmed down and become more athletic. He’s worked on his defense. I think the biggest thing is his skill set of offensive moves and ability to pass the ball. It’s rare to see a kid that young and that size with his skills.”
This past season Trinity lost only one game, to eventual 5A champion L.C. Bird, mainly due to senior play of Zach Jacobs, Aaron Duhart, the addition Jason Wade to the team, a deep bench but most importantly Bacot, who came of age in his second season.