Trey Kaufman has joined some elite company.
Thursday the Silver Creek junior was named the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 25.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game for the Dragons, who went 25-2 before their season — and the state tournament — was cut short by the coronavirus.
Kaufman is the first underclassmen to earn the honor, which “recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the” court, since 2005. However, he is the second area boy to garner the award in three seasons, joining former New Albany star and current Boston Celtic Romeo Langford, who won it in 2018.
Eight previous winners are currently on NBA rosters.
“If you look at the people who have won it in the past, that company alone shows you how prestigious it is, that’s some elite company right there,” Dragons head coach Brandon Hoffman said. “It’s special to me, because I get to see the unseen hours that have gone into it. Seeing the times he comes in the mornings before school, and then he’s the last guy to leave the gym after practice. I think any award he gets is well-deserved.”
Kaufman is the first underclassmen to garner the honor since Lawrence North big man Greg Oden in 2005. Oden also won it again his senior year.
Last year’s winner was Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is coming off a strong freshman season at Indiana.
Kaufman is ranked as the nation’s No. 72 recruit in the Class of 2021 by 247Sports.com. He has scholarship offers from Indiana, Purdue and Louisville, among others. This season he shot 64.1 percent from the field, including 40.2 percent from 3-point range, and 75.1 percent from the free throw line.
“Trey has 3-point range, can put it on the floor and at 6-9 can obviously score in the paint,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said in a press release. “He takes a pretty good beating from the opposing team each game, but I have never seen him lose his cool.”
Kaufman has a 4.0 grade-point average and ranks No. 1 academically in his class.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Kaufman will have the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local, or national, youth sports organization of his choosing. He’s also eligible to submit an essay to win one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.