UK Recruiting

A 6-foot-9 forward with ‘guard skills’ is on Kentucky’s guest list for Big Blue Madness

Over the past several months, Indiana high school basketball standout Trey Kaufman has helped deliver his school’s first state championship and jumped nearly 50 spots in the national recruiting rankings.

He’s due to make another major step on the court this season, and he’ll spend Friday night in Rupp Arena as one of UK’s primary recruiting guests for Big Blue Madness.

Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus was at Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg, Ind. — about 15 miles across the Ohio River from Louisville — last week to get a look at Kaufman in an open gym. Silver Creek head coach Brandon Hoffman said Justus was impressed with the 6-foot-9 forward’s skill set, which has attracted colleges from around the country during this fall recruiting period.

“He has guard skills, and he’s probably our team’s best shooter and best passer, along with his size at 6-9,” Hoffman told the Herald-Leader. “His skill set — any college coach coach that comes into the gym to watch him — that’s the first thing that they see. He has the overall skills to do anything on the court.”

Kaufman averaged 14.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game as a sophomore last season, helping to lead Silver Creek to the school’s first-ever state championship. He also shot 43 percent from three-point range, showing off his ability away from the basket.

Those skills — and Kaufman’s overall playing style — continue to progress, and college coaches are paying close attention to see what comes next.

Last season’s Silver Creek squad was a senior-laden group with several college-level players, and — while Kaufman still played a major role — he’ll be counted upon to be an even bigger part of the team this season.

“He was a really good player for us last year, but he’s not even close this year to what he was last year. He’s so much better,” Hoffman said.

“The progression of his body has just been off the charts. Last year, he was probably closer to 6-7 and 180. And now he’s a legit 6-9 and I we weighed him at 212. He’s thirty pounds heavier, but he’s moving faster and jumps higher. He’s really grown and filled into his body.”

247Sports now ranks Kaufman as the No. 29 overall prospect in the 2021 class, and his stock among that group of recruits just keeps rising.

Louisville, Indiana, Purdue and Xavier were among his early scholarship offers. Hoffman said that coaches from Virginia, Michigan, Stanford and Notre Dame have joined Kentucky and others in visiting Silver Creek this fall.

Hoffman also said that his star player is excited about Friday night’s visit to Big Blue Madness.

“I think Coach Justus was just blown away by his skill set,” he said. “The day that he happened to come watch Trey, he played really, really well. I think it’s one of those situations where UK is definitely going to keep an interest in watching him. I think it’s just the beginning of a relationship.”

Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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