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2022-23 Purdue Basketball Homework: Trey Kaufman-Renn

The freshman coming off of a redshirt will have a big role in 2022-23.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Purdue is in a strange spot with its 2022-23 roster. It is rare that two players in a given class redshirt, but that is what we had this past season. Coach Painter has liberally used the redshirt to mixed results, as only Robbie Hummel and Sasha Stefanovic stayed all five years (and Hummel’s was due to injury). The basic idea is that you get a guy to develop in a year where he wouldn’t play much anyway, then cash in with four productive years instead of three.

The 2019-20 season was a roll of the dice in that regard. Both Brandon Newman and Mason Gillis redshirted because grad transfers Jahaad Proctor and Evann Boudreaux, respectively, were going to be one year solutions at roughly the same position. It made some sense to try and “steal” a year of eligibility on the back end.

What Purdue did with Trey Kaufman-Renn was a surprise though. At No. 42 according to Rivals and No. 43 according to 247 he came to Purdue as one of the highest rated recruits under Painter. Only Caleb Swanigan and E’Twaun Moore were higher, while he had the exact same ratings as JaJuan Johnson.

Everyone in the world wanted Kaufman-Renn, but he ended up redshirting because of a lack of minutes due to virtually the entire 2020-21 team returning. It’s not like he wasn’t good, either. He was a two-time state champion, runner-up to Caleb Furst for Mr. Basketball, a player that averaged a 25-12-4 with two blocks as a senior, and an 1,800 career point scorer. If he is on pretty much any other team last season he probably plays a lot of minutes.

You can’t really comment on this past season because it basically was extended homework for Trey. He suffered a hand injury last summer that cost him a chance to play with Jaden Ivey and Caleb Furst at the U-19 World Cup. He then spent all season getting reps against a top 10 team in practice every day.

While both have similar height, Kaufman-Renn projects more as a wing than Furst. If I had to assign a position to each I would say Furst is more of a small five who can play the four, while Kaufman-Renn is a big three that can play the four. Trey needs to improve as a three-points hooter though. He shot just 22% from a shorter three-point range in high school. By comparison, Furst was 37.7%. Both could get by with their physicality close to the rim at that level, but at the next level here skill will be important.

Like Furst, Kaufman-Renn needs to improve as a perimeter defender. Of course, you could say that about Purdue as a whole. Offensively I think he is a bit more dynamic than Furst, and I like that he averaged almost four assists per game as the dominant player on his high school team. His summer homework is basically a continuation of this past redshirt season, where he needs to work himself into the offense and play strong defense.

Ultimately, I see him most playing at the 3 or 4 as needed. If Purdue goes small with Furst at the 5 he brings an interesting element to the 4. Gillis and Furst still look to have the majority of the minutes there though, so how effective he can be at the three will be critical. Purdue lost too many pieces and he is too highly rated of a recruit for him to not contribute.