The University of Virginia men’s basketball program continues to be in wait-and-see mode in class of 2021 recruiting. The Hoos won’t have to wait much longer on decisions from two top targets, though, as Silver Creek (Sellersburg, IN) forward Trey Kaufman and Montverde Academy (FL) forward Caleb Houstan brought clarity to their respective recruitments this week.
Kaufman, a 6’9” senior who earned 2019-20 Gatorade Player of the Year honors in the state of Indiana, revealed on his Instagram page that he will announce his college commitment on Friday, October 30. Indiana, Indiana State, North Carolina, Purdue, and Virginia are the finalists for the consensus 4-star prospect.
Kaufman revealed what he will be looking for in his school of choice from a developmental perspective.
“Finding people they have had who are similar to me, how they worked with them and helped them develop will be really important,” Kaufman said in this September EDGE article. “Guys at a Kentucky-type school, like a one-and-done, you can’t see their development. Guys who go to a school for two or three years, you can what each team does with those guys. There is the strength & conditioning standpoint. All five schools I’ve named, I’ve talked to all of the strength & conditioning coaches. I’m interested in developing skill-wise and strength & conditioning-wise.”
“It’s not about a certain tempo,” Kaufman continued. “I’m just looking for what will help me thrive in college. Usually it’s about finding players they have had who are like me.”
Kaufman visited Virginia in September, but because of an extended Dead Period brought on by coronavirus concerns, he was not allowed to meet with the coaches in person on the trip. He has spoken with Coach Bennett and staff numerous times virtually and over the phone. Kaufman feels the culture at UVA is a fit, but as of September he was trying to figure out how his game matches Coach Bennett’s system.
“[Coach Bennett’s] answer, and the guy they compare me to, is De’Andre Hunter,” Kaufman explained. “He’s in the NBA and that’s where I want to be. Knowing what they have done with guys similar to how I play helps. The other thing is me figuring out if it is the right system for me. I know the gist of it. I’m figuring out if it is my type of system or not. I don’t know yet.”
Kaufman’s visit to North Carolina came the same week as the UVA trip. He was able to take in-depth visits the other three finalists, but whether that will factor into his decision remains to be seen. We will find out next week.
Sharpshooting consensus 5-star Caleb Houstan, who at 6’8” is another potential combo forward in Virginia’s system, told Sports Illustrated Director of Recruiting Jason Jordan that he wants to make a decision before the start of his high school season.
2021 SG Caleb Houstan tells me his goal is to make a decision before the start of his HS season in late November.
Duke, Michigan, Alabama and Virginia all contending.
His blog drops this week.
— Jason Jordan (@JasonJordanSI) October 18, 2020
Houstan’s four finalists are Alabama, Duke, Michigan, and Virginia. It’s unclear if Houstan plans to sign early or if he will just commit early and sign in the spring. The Early Signing Period begins November 11 and ends November 18.
(Editor’s Note: Houstan posted a blog on Sports Illustrated after this article was released. Click here to read it. He discusses his four finalists, how he will come to a decision, and more. Of UVA, he wrote: “Virginia: I have a strong relationship with Coach (Tony) Bennett and Coach (Jason) Williford, they were one of the first schools to setup a Zoom and get to know me. They really showed me how they could help me improve, which I appreciated.”)
In addition to Houstan and Kaufman, Virginia is also a finalist for Paul VI (Fairfax, VA) 5-star guard Trevor Keels. Keels, who is also considering Duke and Villanova, has not indicated a definitive timetable for his decision.