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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: By bagging a second Mr. Basketball candidate in Silver Creek’s Kaufman, Purdue back on top in hoops recruiting wars

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, October 9, 2020, 11:43 am

Purdue is winning the in-state recruiting battle for the first time in five years. Silver Creek four-star forward Trey Kaufman committed to Matt Painter and the Boilermakers just over a week ago, giving Purdue its second Mr. Basketball candidate for the Class of 2021. 

Ft. Wayne Blackhawk Christian forward Caleb Furst, another four-star stud in the frontcourt, committed to Purdue back in the spring. Kaufman and Furst are the top two preseason favorites for the prestigious annual award. Painter hasn’t snagged a Mr. Basketball winner since 2015 when Purdue signed Homestead’s Caleb Swanigan, currently in the NBA with the Portland Trailblazers. 

The past three Mr. Basketball winners have inked with Indiana (New Albany’s Romeo Langford, Center Grove’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Bloomington South’s Anthony Leal). Archie Miller has done his best work on the bench for the Hoosiers on the recruiting trail.

But this year, Painter sealed the deal on the best overall prospect in the state. Whether you think its Kaufman or Furst.

The argument in favor of Kaufman is stacked.

Kaufman (6-foot-9) is a force of nature on the wing — long, athletic, active, smooth and powerful. He averaged 26 points and 10 rebounds per game last season as a junior. In 2019, as a sophomore, he took his Dragons to a 3A state championship. North Carolina, Clemson, Texas A&M, Virginia, Wichita State, Xavier, Indiana State and IU were also recruiting him. Indiana State surprisingly made his final cut-down list last month.

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Sixth hoop heaven

South Bend Riley senior combo guard Blake Wesley is down to his final six scholarship offers. The explosive 6-5 gunner trimmed his choices to Purdue, Notre Dame, Creighton, Xavier, Maryland and Kansas State. Last season, Wesley averaged 26 points, six rebounds and four dimes per night.

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Five Sophomores To Watch

Xavier Booker (Indianapolis Cathedral 6-10) — The next Shawn Kemp?

JaQualon Roberts (Bloomington North 6-6) — Fierce competitor, dripping with finesse in the frontcourt.

Anthony Ball (Southport 6-7) — Graceful grinder, blood-and-guts style baller.

Kamari Slaughter (Portage 6-5) — Lightning in a bottle type.

Sammy Orme (Carmel 6-7) — Oozing with upside on the wing.