With Zach Edey Gone, Trey Kaufman-Renn Ready for Breakout Year at Purdue

Purdue junior Trey Kaufman-Renn is ready to take on a much bigger role with Purdue during the 2024-25 season. Coach Matt Painter says the 6-foot-9 forward is capable of having an all-conference type of year.
Purdue Boilermakers forward Trey Kaufman-Renn grabs a rebound
Purdue Boilermakers forward Trey Kaufman-Renn grabs a rebound / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
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After two years of gradual progression, much bigger opportunities await Purdue junior Trey Kaufman-Renn this upcoming season.

 With Zach Edey gone, the 6-foot-9 forward could have a breakout season for the Boilermakers with more minutes, more shots and more responsibility on defense. It’s a challenge he’s embracing.

Kaufman-Renn appeared in all 74 games through his first two years in West Lafayette. He transitioned from a bench player as a freshman to a starter in his sophomore campaign. While  he saw more minutes during the 2023-24 campaign, he was still a role player alongside Edey.

In 2024-2025, there will be no two-time National Player of the Year dominating inside, scoring more than 25 points a game, and swatting away shots.. Kaufman-Renn is ready for the opportunity to play a greater role on both offense and defense.

"It's a huge opportunity for me. I'm not stupid, I feel like if I got double the amount of touches I got last year or triple the amount of touches, I'd be one of the leading scorers on the team. I mean, respectfully, honestly,” Kaufman-Renn said after the team’s first summer practice.

“But we had an incredible team. So, it's one of those things where I'm proud of the roles I've been given, but this year I've gotta step it up and take advantage of the greater bulk of shots I'm gonna get."

Although Kaufman-Renn started last season, he only averaged 17 minutes per game — a testament to Purdue’s depth. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as the team’s second option in the post.

Kaufman-Renn flashed his brilliance at times during his sophomore season. He was marvelous in a Jan. 5 victory over Illinois, scoring 23 points while making eight-of-12 shots. In Purdue’s first two tournament games against Grambling and Utah State, the forward totaled 29 points and 15 rebounds in a pair of blowout victories.

Because Purdue was so focused on Edey’s post presence, Kaufman-Renn didn’t get a lot of offensive touches. The rising junior said that inconsistency really hindered his rhythm. 

“Zach's so dominant that I may go a couple games without getting a post touch,” he said. “So when you get the ball, you're not really in rhythm, you're not expecting it and so I missed a bunch of bunnies that I would normally hit. I'm just excited to be in rhythm, get consistent touches."

Since Kaufman-Renn’s redshirt season in 2020-21, coach Matt Painter has raved about the forward’s abilities. But because of a clogged roster — sharing time with Edey, Mason Gillis and Caleb Furst — he just hasn’t logged the minutes to be one of Purdue’s top producers.

Painter believes that could change dramatically.

"I think he's got a chance to have an all-conference type season,” Painter said. “He can really score the basketball. He just hasn't been as consistent because he didn't have consistent minutes. Obviously more this past year, but you're still not playing through your mistakes as Braden (Smith) does or Fletch(er) (Loyer) does or Zach did or the guys that played 25 to 30 minutes."

While Edey’s departure is undoubtedly a big loss for the Boilermakers, Kaufman-Renn taking on a bigger role could allow the offense to look a little bit different. Yes, the forward has a strong post presence and is capable of putting up double-double numbers by occupying space in the post. But he’s got more athleticism and better touch on his jump shot than previous Purdue big men.

If Purdue utilizes a smaller lineup with Kaufman-Renn at the center position, it creates better floor spacing around him. The Boilers might also be able to stretch the floor better than they have in previous seasons, with his ability to knock down open jumpers.

That’s why Kaufman-Renn has worked hard on perfecting his shot.

"It's big. I mean, that's where the game is, right?” he said. “With my athletic ability to go around bigger guys,I think being able to hit the 3-ball to bring (defenders) out, it opens up the floor. I think that will be big time."

Painter doesn’t hand out roles at Purdue, even for veterans. Every opportunity Kaufman-Renn receives this coming season will be earned.

He’s undoubtedly prepared for the challenge.

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Dustin Schutte