IU basketball: Class of 2021 priority forward Trey Kaufman talks restarting AAU games and recruiting

Sellersburg, Ind. class of 2021 forward Trey Kaufman returned to AAU action this weekend at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.

The reigning Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year and consensus top-65 and four-star recruit played in two games at the Pacers Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon for Indiana Elite 2021.

The Daily Hoosier caught up with Kaufman after those games on a number of topics including his training during the pandemic and the latest with his recruitment.

What has your training routine been like the last few months?

TK:  I just took a two week vacation so I’ve kind of taken a break, but before it was going and working with my athletic trainer.  We wanted to do it three times a week and then allow some time for growth.  And then practicing basketball.  A lot of the trainers that I wanted to get with weren’t available during the whole quarantine.  But now that everything is open I’ve been back in the gym.

Since you’re self-motivated, did this situation give you an advantage doing stuff on your own?

TK:  Oh yeah, I think it gives me a really good advantage, because I don’t need somebody to go out there and push me.  I want to do it.  I love the game and I want to get better.

What did playing in your first AAU action tell you about how effective your training has been?

TK:  It’s kind of frustrating, because we trained a lot on athleticism specifically.  When you’re out of shape you really can’t show that as much.  Today I was out there just trying to play as hard as I could.  I wasn’t worried about scoring or making good moves or things like that.  I was just trying to play and get back in shape.  So it was kind of disappointing in that sense, but getting back into it, it’s going to help.

What is it like being able to play again?

TK:  It’s a lot of fun.  Getting out with the guys, even scrimmaging together was a lot of fun.  I’m just excited to play real games.  I don’t care if we lose by 40, I just want to get out there and play and have fun.

You mentioned athleticism and you’ve been talking about that a little bit on social media.  What is fueling that?

TK:  Coach talks about it, he always wants us to work on weaknesses in our games.  Even though I think that I am athletic, I would say that I can get more athletic, and I hope that I can show that when I get back in shape.

Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Do you feel like you missed out on anything with coaches not being allowed to attend for live evaluations?

TK:  Yeah, I’m sure I missed out, but my focus is just on getting back out there.  I think I missed out on the joy of basketball.

With coaches not allowed to attend games, how are coaches communicating to you and are they telling you that they are going to watch you on the live streams?

TK:  Yeah, a lot of coaches told me that they have cameras here.  They said they are definitely going to watch it.

What’s the latest with recruiting?  Wake Forest was the latest to offer?  Who has jumped in since the end of the high school season?

TK:  Definitely Texas A&M and Wake Forest.  I didn’t talk to them before the quarantine.  Virginia offered and they came in and watched me practice, but those two schools didn’t contact me before the quarantine.  I took vacation, so I took a break from a lot of those meetings, but I think that Wake Forest wants to have a zoom call.  I don’t know if we’ll do that later today, or tomorrow.

What is your current thinking about visits?

(Note:  Kaufman has all five senior year visits available)

TK:  I definitely want to take as many visits as I can.  I’d say the schools that offered (recently) I’d probably want to go take a visit there.

Is staying closer to home still a factor in your decision making process?

TK:  Yeah.  It’s definitely a benefit to play close to home.  Obviously your family can come and watch you play.  My mom tells me that you’ve got to pick the best school, because she’ll move wherever I go.  If I go to Texas and play, she’ll move to Texas and watch me there.  But I do think that being home is a benefit.

Do you have a timeline in mind for when you’d like to take the official visits?

TK:  No, but I really want to take the official visits before I make my decision.  For the newer schools like Virginia, Texas A&M and Wake Forest, I really haven’t even considered them.  So it’s sitting down and thinking about those schools as well.  I’d like to go through that phase as well.

Who is recruiting you hard?  Are there certain school that you know will get official visits?

TK:  I talk to so many coaches a day that it is hard to pinpoint who is texting me the most frequently.  I think all of the schools are making a push.  My mom and I have to work that (the official visits) out.  Those schools (Texas A&M/Wake Forest) are far away, so it is a time thing as well.

Logan Duncomb and Trey Kaufman are AAU teammates for Indiana Elite.  Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier.

How does Logan Duncomb try to convince you to play for Indiana and how do you guys fit together on the basketball court?

TK:  He kind of playfully talks to me a lot and says ‘how about going to IU.’  Our fit was kind of hard today, just because we haven’t played together for a while, but over time it will be better.  I think we had a couple passes where I sealed off my man and a couple high/low passes where I think that would work.

What is the latest with Indiana’s recruitment of you?

TK:  Coach Miller has started contacting me more, whereas before I really didn’t talk to him, I talked to Coach (Tom) Ostrom most of the time.  Building that relationship with Coach Miller has been better.

What stands out about Indiana’s plan for you?

TK:  I think the biggest thing with IU is knowing the players that are going to be there, knowing the culture, and knowing the coaches.  I think with IU there is not a lot of recruiting left, because it is more of just deciding whether it is the perfect fit for me.  I know everybody there so well, and I know the players really love it.

How about with Purdue?

TK:  I’d say the same thing.  Coach Painter has talked to me more than ever along with Coach Brantley.  Especially those two schools (IU and Purdue) are wanting to know my timeline and wanting to know what I’m thinking.

With Caleb Furst committed to Purdue, does that change anything for you?

TK:  I don’t think so.  I think we play different as long as I can guard quicker players.  Offensively obviously he is a really good player, but I think I can do things that he can’t do on the offensive side, and there are things that he can do, so it’s different.

When there are no coaches here and you’re diving on the floor you’re getting hurt and coming back in.  Why is it important to you to play that way all of the time?

TK:  That’s kind of the way I’ve always played.  I was taught to not take possessions off.  It’s fun being out there playing for fans and if you enjoy something that much, you want to play hard.

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