SOUTHPORT — The Indiana All-Stars completed yet another two-game sweep of Kentucky on Saturday night, though not without some difficulties to overcome.
Mr. Basketball runner-up and Purdue recruit Trey Kaufman-Renn missed the second half of the 86-70 win after falling on his right hand in the first half, ending his night after he’d gone for 10 points and six rebounds in just under 13 minutes prior to halftime.
“I just fell on it awkwardly,” Kaufman-Renn said, “and we were trying to be cautious. I’ll go get an X-ray. But it was precaution (that I sat out) and we’ll leave it at that.”
And Kentucky was far from a pushover, starting the game strong and opening the second half well enough to be down just 42-41 with 16-and-a-half minutes left.
But Indiana hit back with a quick 9-2 run, and with eight-and-a-half minutes left, Purdue signee and Mr. Basketball Caleb Furst delivered perhaps the game’s decisive blow, spinning baseline off a post defender for an emphatic two-handed slam that put the hosts up a baker’s dozen, 66-53. For good measure, Furst took a charge shortly thereafter. Indiana went on to lead by as many as 22.
Furst led Team Indiana with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
A few takeaways from yet another Indiana sweep.
Caleb Furst was instrumental in making sure the Indiana All-Stars weren’t seriously threatened in the final 15 minutes. (GoldandBlack.com)
ON CALEB FURST’S PLAY
Neither of Indiana’s wins in these two all-star games — three if you count the junior exhibition that the seniors trailed early in the second half — came easily, no matter what the final box scores may say.
Furst’s penchant for winning basketball was a crucial element toward the seniors never even coming close to dropping one of these games after being pushed.
Of the many things that stand out about the big man from Fort Wayne — his ability to move and run for his size is certainly up there, and his skill not far behind — his effort stands out.
At the high school level, Furst has been a dominant rebounder in part because he’s bigger and more athletic than 99.9 percent of the people he played against, but also because he tries really hard, and the ball has a funny way of finding effort.
(Furst and Kaufman-Renn alike both look like they might be really be able to rebound outside their areas at the next level.)
Furst’s ability to run the floor and high effort level cross paths, too, for another significant area of value. He changes ends offensively as well as any big man Purdue’s recruited to this point at this age — and remember, JaJuan Johnson ran like a deer — and that’s the sort of thing that puts ample pressure on defenses and can make opposing big men look really bad at times.
There’s a lot of things about Furst that tend to make opponents look bad and all of them should carry over to the college level.
Trey Kaufman-Renn’s night was cut short. (GoldandBlack.com)
Obviously, this is a significant concern, that Kaufman-Renn hurt his hand literally the night before he comes to college. Maybe it’s nothing, that remains to be seen, but if the injury is significant, he would have all summer to recover but not without missing out on at least something.
Remember, Kaufman-Renn is due to join Furst and Jaden Ivey at tryouts for USA Basketball’s 19-and-under team in Texas from June 20-22.
Otherwise, the freshman forward’s summer at Purdue will be about continuing the upward trend he’s been riding physically since the pandemic began.
Kaufman-Renn has been working to become faster and quicker and move better laterally, in hopes of being able to play more on the perimeter.
At the same time, though, he’s become a physical force around the basket and driving to it, playing with a physicality unlike anything he’d shown prior to this season both as a scorer and rebounder.
That was the biggest thing that stood out about Kaufman-Renn in these three all-star events: The physical edge he played with.
Brian Waddell will redshirt at Purdue next season (GoldandBlack.com)
Brian Waddell should be judged off his high school body work, not his modest contributions in an all-star event. He didn’t get a whole lot of playing relative to the rest of his team, but the guy doling out those minutes, Carmel coach Ryan Osborne, was the same guy Waddell helped get a ring this season.
Purdue recruited the forward/wing as a redshirt for next season, and did so because it recognized his ability to thrive in structure and contribute to winning. Broadly, think Grady Eifert, however lazy and tired as that comparison might sound.
Purdue recruited Waddell in hopes of developing him into a high-end role player for potentially very good teams, and he is probably pretty close to his floor as a player right now because he needs size and strength so badly.
Once he changes his body, then Purdue can find out if his intangibles, height, length, shooting ability and versatility are what Matt Painter thinks they are.
Left to right: Caleb Furst, 2022 commitment Fletcher Loyer, Trey Kaufman-Renn, 2022 commitment Braden Smith and Brian Waddell.
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