Purdue scored another landmark recruiting win Friday, as Southern Indiana’s Trey Kaufman committed to the Boilermakers over Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina, among many others.
Rivals.com’s 32nd-ranked player in the 2021 class completes an outstanding frontcourt combo for Matt Painter and his staff, as Fort Wayne’s Caleb Furst and Kaufman — from Silver Creek High School, on the outskirts of Louisville — will meet in the middle to form a talented, versatile and modern front-line pairing. Kaufman can play the power forward position and on the wing, and Furst can play both the power forward spot and as a skilled and mobile center, similar to the Vincent Edwards-Caleb Swanigan personnel dynamics of a few seasons ago.
“The way I want to play is more suited to them than any of the other schools,” Kaufman said during his announcement. My game fits them the best.
“(It’s) not just being a 4, but being a 3, too. That’s where my body’s going.”
Furst, also a top-50-ranked four-star prospect, committed to the Boilermakers at the beginning of March.
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Coming off an outstanding summer (under the circumstances), Kaufman showed himself to be faster, quicker and stronger and proved himself as a legitimate high-major wing option in addition to his inside-out ability as a post player.
Purdue sold him on its history with players who possess his sort of versatility, “position-less basketball,” as he puts it, and was long seen by Kaufman as an ideal basketball and cultural fit. The Boilermakers were a leader — if not the leader — all along for Kaufman, even though reasonable conventional thinking suggested Furst’s commitment would eliminate them.
Kaufman was the 2019-2020 Gatorade Player-of-the-Year in Indiana after averaging around 26 points and 10 rebounds. Silver Creek won the Class 3A state title Kaufman’s sophomore season and would have been a contender to repeat this past winter had the season not been cut short by the pandemic.
This is a rare high-end recruiting win for Purdue in Southern Indiana, where Indiana and Louisville both pressed for Kaufman’s commitment from the outset of his extended recruiting process. Louisville did not make Kaufman’s final list of five. Virginia and North Carolina did — as did Indiana State, to which there are family connections — but proximity to home and the NCAA’s recruiting dead period (barring him from officially visiting) were significant obstacles for the two distant ACC powers. Wake Forest, Texas A&M and Xavier were among Kaufman’s many other offers.
“The goal for myself, first off, is to just become a better player, maximize my potential and get as good at basketball as I can get,” Kaufman said during his announcement on WJHI Radio out of Jeffersonville High School. “But for me it’s more centered around team goals. It’s the Big Ten championship, NCAA championship, all the success we can get as a team.”
Commitments from Furst and Kaufman fill Purdue’s two available scholarships for the 2021 class. But with NCAA transfer reform expected to pass in coming months, Painter has said he may begin regularly over-signing classes by one player, meaning it’s conceivable Purdue could still look for a third player to add to this class in the spring, should attractive options surface.