Class of 2021 forward Trey Kaufman was named the Indiana boys high school Gatorade player of the year for the 2019-20 season last week.
The Silver Creek High School (Sellersbug, Ind.) junior averaged 25.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals per contest. Kaufman helped lead the Dragons to a 25-2 mark before the season was interrupted. The 6-foot-9 Kaufman shot 64 percent from the floor overall, including 40 percent from three-point range.
The Daily Hoosier caught up with Kaufman on winning the award, his basketball life during the COVID-19 restrictions, the latest with his recruitment and much more.
TDH: What was your reaction to winning the Gatorade Indiana High School Boys Player of the Year / being only just the fifth junior from Indiana to win the honor?
Kaufman: I actually didn’t know the junior tidbit until my coach told me that. But just to be selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year is an honor. You look at all the people (who have won it) that have made it to the NBA, and that’s my goal obviously, it’s an honor to be in that group with them.
TDH: How difficult was it to have your high school season canceled as you and your Silver Creek teammates looked to repeat as Class 3A state champions?
Kaufman: It was definitely hard. We haven’t lost a Class 3A game since last year. I’m not one to look at rankings or anything like that but I think we would have been heavily favored to win it again. Just looking at the team that we had I think we would have won it again. There was definitely disappointment, but obviously we were a young team and we’ll be back.
TDH: What are your workouts like right now in light of the COVID-19 restrictions? How are you staying close to the game?
Kaufman: I have a goal outside my house, and my grandparents live close and they have a goal. I do the same things. I shoot, I can do calisthenics and my workouts anywhere. I’ve never really had a weight room. Calisthenics, running, sprinting, for me there are no excuses, so I’m just doing my normal workouts.
TDH: Are you able to play at all right now with your friends / Silver Creek teammates?
Kaufman: Most of the players are on quarantine or their parents don’t let them go out which makes sense. I haven’t even been asking them. It’s a big deal so I’ve haven’t asked, but as soon as this is over for sure.
TDH: What are your primary means of communicating with Indiana right now?
Kaufman: Facetime. It’s actually pretty interesting. They (IU) have been calling me the most out of all the schools that have been looking at me.
TDH: You visited Indiana several times over the last six months. Is that about proximity (to home) and/or does it reflect your level of interest?
Kaufman: I’d say both. It is proximity, but IU is definitely up there with everybody as far as recruiting goes. I’ve been there multiple times and I’d say they are right up there with everybody.
TDH: How important is proximity to your college decision?
Kaufman: To me it (proximity) is not really a (deciding) thing. If it’s a perfect fit for somewhere across the country then it’s a perfect fit. But proximity is definitely a benefit, but if there’s another fit outside the area then that’s the place to go.
TDH: What aspects of the Indiana program are appealing to you right now?
Kaufman: I’d say how young they are. So by the time I’m there I would not only have a position to play but also a spot, and I know the players that are there. Those are pretty big.
They’ve also had some recent experience with players that are kind of like me. They talk a lot about Trayce (Jackson-Davis). I think we play a lot different, but at least they’ve had a player kind of my height, kind of my look. Although Trayce and I are different players, some of the options that he goes through as far as a screen, I know I might do different things off of that option like pick-and-pop. If we were in the same position I might have different reads off those sets.
TDH: Where do you see yourself in terms of playing a position in the traditional sense? A three, four, or maybe a hybrid of the two?
Kaufman: Probably a hybrid. I’ve got some work to go with ball handling. I need more experience playing the guard position. I’ve played the five my entire life. This past season has been helpful with that, but right now I would say four or three.
TDH: Has your decision making process been impacted by the events from the last few weeks?
Kaufman: My Mom and I are definitely going to talk about it (sooner than later). With the coronavirus, our schedule has kind of changed as far as when we’re looking at schools. During the season I was more just going to games and figuring out everything, but now we’re starting to talk about what we really want from a school.
TDH Note: Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue and Xavier are the top schools involved in Kaufman’s recruitment right now.
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