RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When it’s all said and done at the end of their high school careers, Trinity Episcopal’s Armando Bacot and John Marshall’s Isaiah Todd will be two of the most highly-touted recruits central Virginia has ever produced.
Currently, Bacot is the 24th ranked recruit in the class of 2019 and Todd is 1st in the class of 2020 according to ESPN.com. The national attention puts them on a pedestal for high school basketball in the greater Richmond area, the pressure doesn’t show in their demeanors at the beginning of this current season. Their friendship is a great outlet for that.
“Off the court, me and (Armando) are like brothers,” says Todd, “On the court, we try to take each other’s heads off.” The two have only met once during high school competition in the fall of 2016, with the Trinity Titans besting the John Marshall Justices. “It was a pretty intense game,” Bacot replies, “I still like to brag about it a little bit.”
“That’s a rare treat to have two young men that talented,” says John Marshall head coach Ty White, “and 10-15 miles away from each other.”
The two towering forwards, Bacot at 6’10” while Todd stands 6’11”, share the same front-court during the summertime. Both play for Team Loaded in AAU which is coached by White, who isn’t shy to admit, “The sky is the limit for both of those young men.”
“(Isaiah) is versatile, he shoots the three, he can handle the ball; position-less basketball,” he says analytically, “(Armando) has great hands, he has a feel for the post that’s unreal.”
Combined, the pair total 63 collegiate athletic scholarship offers that include top-tier programs Duke and University of North Carolina, also the usual local offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, University of Richmond and VCU. Between them they share three: Kansas, Villanova and UCLA.
“Like, Duke, they’ll come see me and him at the same time,” Bacot describes, “different schools that are recruiting him they might stop by and see me too. I’m pretty sure we both try to compare our stats and outdo each other because we’re both competitors.”
“That pushes me,” echoes Todd, “It’s a lot of fun, knowing people look up to you as far as basketball and your city.”
Rick Hamlin, Bacot’s head coach at Trinity Episcopal, has seen first hand what having either of the two talents can do to a team’s roster. In the 2016-2017 season, then sophomore Bacot averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds on the way to the team’s first VISAA state championship in decades.
“You’re talking about potentially,” says Hamlin with confidence, “the two greatest players ever from central Virginia, whether it’s Russell Wilson, Ed Davis or even Frank Mason. That’s really cool because if you’re in middle school now, you have tangible role models that you can look up to like Armando or Isaiah.”
Bacot has this season plus next year left in his high school career, Todd this year plus two more. As much hype there is surrounding the potential of these two budding superstars, the greater Richmond area needs to know these young men are both extremely talented and fully aware of what their influence on high school hoops can do for the future of the sport in the community.
“I love the fact that I’m just putting a brick in the building,” says Todd with a gracious smile, “but at the same time I’m going to make something last forever, you know. Me and (Armando), we carry the city.”