Just 12 days after announcing his college decision, Trey Kaufman made it official Wednesday.
The Silver Creek senior boys’ basketball standout signed his National Letter of Intent with Purdue.
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward, a Top 40 recruit nationally and the state’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year, averaged 25.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game last season for the Dragons.
Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian forward Caleb Furst, who’ll likely be Kaufman’s biggest competition for Mr. Basketball this season, also inked with the Boilermakers.
“Obviously both of these guys are really good players and are really good people,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Both of these guys really fit in well with what we look for here at Purdue. They are blue-collar, hard-working, tough, unselfish winners that have won a lot of games at their level. They have a lot of winning traits to them.
“Obviously, it’s important to recruit your state and start there, but it’s more important to get the right fit, wherever they may be from. Both of these guys are elite students, elite people from great families and elite players. They are the complete package. That’s what you want in your program wherever they may be from. ... Those two, I feel, are going to be able to win a lot of games for Purdue.”
In his first three seasons, Kaufman helped Silver Creek win 70 games (against only 11 losses), three sectional titles and the 2019 Class 3A state championship.
“He’s just a winner,” Painter said of Kaufman, who is ranked No. 32 in the Class of 2021 by Rivals.com and 40th by 247Sports.com. “He’s a hard-working guy. He loves basketball, really always striving to find the next thing to improve whether it’s his lateral quickness, his outside shooting, whatever, just kind of a basketball junkie. And we think he’s going to be a great player for us.”
Painter compared Kaufman to former Purdue standout Vince Edwards, an effective combo forward for the Boilermakers from 2014-18, as well as Furst.
“Trey has a lot of same qualities as Caleb and as a teammate”, Painter said. “He works very hard, is very diligent and versatile in two positions as a three and as a four. He has really worked on perimeter game and lateral movement which allows him to play on perimeter, and use his size for mismatches when guarded by smaller players. Both of these guys fit in really well here at Purdue in terms of being blue-collar, hard-working, tough, unselfish and proven winners. They both have a lot of winning traits to them.”
Kaufman, however, wasn’t the only area athlete to sign his NLI.
JACOBI INKS WITH ROCKETS
Kaufman’s classmate and teammate Kooper Jacobi also signed his NLI with the University of Toledo men’s basketball team.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pound forward averaged 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season for the Dragons, who went 25-2 and were ranked No. 1 in Class 3A throughout the season. Jacobi, who announced his commitment to the Rockets in September, is ranked as the 15th-best player in Indiana by 247Sports.
“We’re really excited to have Kooper join our Toledo Basketball family,” Toledo head coach Tod Kowalczyk said in a press release. “He’s a do-it-everything type forward who’s extremely skilled and tough. He plays very hard and is a very good shooter and passer. Kooper is also an unbelievable student with great character who has been well coached in a winning program. That’s something we value a great deal.”
PURICHIA SIGNS WITH EKU
Also Wednesday, Providence senior volleyball standout Anna Purichia signed with Eastern Kentucky.
The 5-10 outside hitter, who was coached by her mother, Terri, ranked second on the squad in kills (313) and kills per set (3.2) this past season. Additionally, she was third in solo blocks (five), fourth in total blocks (31). fifth in block assists (26) and sixth in aces (25)
She completed her career with 710 kills, 211 digs, 104 total blocks and 45 service aces.
“Anna comes from a volleyball family,” EKU coach Johnna Bazzani said. “Her knowledge of the game and the energy and passion she has really shows when she plays. She is very competitive and she will be fun to watch next year.”
KAELIN INKS WITH ISU
Meanwhile, Purichia’s teammate and classmate Emma Kaelin inked with Indiana State.
This past season Kaelin, a 5-8 setter/hitter, was second on the Pioneers in assists (404) while ranking third in service aces (35), block assists (31), total blocks (33), digs (220). Additionally, she tied for third in kills (142).
Kaelin completed her career with 1,444 assists, 612 digs, 262 kills, 107 aces and 76 total blocks.
“Emma is a true leader to her teammates and as a setter, has the ability to literally light up the gym in both her play and personality,” ISU coach Lindsay Allman said.
OTHERS SIGN TOO
Several other area athletes also made their commitments official Wednesday by signing. Included among those were New Albany seniors Grace Barber (Bellarmine women’s soccer) and Emma Lopp (Indianapolis women’s soccer), as well as Silver Creek seniors Holder Groher (Butler baseball), Alana Striverson (Lindenwood women’s basketball) and Anna Wright (Western Kentucky women’s soccer).