When you get a top 50 recruit to commit to your program it’s a day to celebrate. A day to sit back and bask in the glory of your work and then get out there and get back at it. When Head Coach Matt Painter got the commitment of top 50 Trey Kaufman-Renn I’m sure his initial thought wasn’t that the would redshirt his first year. In fact, I’m not sure there was anyone out there who truly believed that. And yet, that’s where Kaufman-Renn found himself during his first year. There were a couple of factors that led to that decision, one being that Kaufman-Renn injured his hand in the offseason. This injury caused him to be unable to compete in the U-19 World Cup with Boilermakers Caleb Furst and Jaden Ivey (plus Canadian Zach Edey). Second, there was a bit of a log jam at the position for Kaufman-Renn. Would he have been able to overcome that and earn plenty of minutes for himself? It’s entirely possible but it seems like Painter’s philosophy lately has been why waste a perfectly good year for a great player who will only average 2-3 minutes a game.
This year will show if that decision by Painter, in conjunction with Kaufman-Renn, will have been a good one. As shown by his stellar play in the exhibition game against Truman State Kaufman-Renn can play all over the floor. While he only took one three in the game it looked effortless and smooth and something I think we might see a lot more of this year.
When Kaufman-Renn and Caleb Furst both committed in the same class there was some worry that the two couldn’t play together and/or that they simply were two players for one position. That doesn’t seem to be the case at least early on as Caleb Furst projects more as a small 5 or big 4 while Kaufman-Renn can play more along the perimeter and projects more as a 4 or 3.
Kaufman-Renn came off the bench against Truman State but grabbed 17 minutes, just three off the top, while going 6-7 from the floor including the aforementioned sweet three pointer. He also was able to grab 6 rebounds and went 2-4 from the free throw line. We certainly don’t love that but it’s a small enough sample size to not worry about it for any time at all. Over a longer time horizon I have faith that he’ll put it together.
Kaufman-Renn projects as one of the first off the bench. A key reserve if you will. But, like Brandon Newman numerically before him, he’s got a real chance to work himself into the starting lineup should someone above him struggle or Kaufman-Renn makes the change unavoidable. Painter has been known to keep his starting lineups fairly stable and has said quite frankly that he doesn’t care who starts games but rather who finishes them. With his skillset, and if his length can prove problematic for opposing defenses, I expect to see Kaufman-Renn finishing a lot of games this season.