Posted On: 02/20/18 5:00 AM
Ottawa-Glandorf is the Western Buckeye League Champion. They’re 20-1 behind a devastating full-court press, good enough for the no. 3 spot in the Division III AP Poll. And, Jay Kaufman (2018) is back from an ACL injury.
Life is good going into the postseason for the Titans.
“The key, I think, has been that we have a bunch of kids that work hard in practice and want the best for each other. We don’t really have any selfish guys or guys who just want their points. We have guys who are willing to do what it takes to get a win,” Kaufman said.
The 6’4” senior stretch-four is one of the many seniors within that group who set a successful tone.
“I would say my biggest strength is my leadership, my competitiveness, and will to win,” Kaufman said.
They’ll start their postseason journey on March 2 in the Lima District, where they should be considered heavy favorites to make it to the Regional Playoffs. However, it’s been one game at a time all season for O-G.
“We play a pretty tough schedule. The WBL is pretty tough and we schedule as many tough out-of-conference games as we can. So that kind of just makes us focus game by game. And we like that tough schedule because it focuses us and gets us ready for tournament-like games,” Kaufman said.
This mindset carries its way into Kaufman’s approach to recruiting.
“I’m mainly focused on this basketball season, then I’ll make my college decision after the basketball season,” Kaufman said.
However, it seems that Kaufman is a football lean, given where his options stand at the moment.
“I have offers from Army West Point, Ohio Dominican, and Eastern Kentucky,” Kaufman said of his football recruitment.
Being that Kaufman missed his final grassroots season with a torn ACL, it’s pretty quiet on that side of things.
“I haven’t really heard a lot for basketball since my injury. I didn’t get to play AAU or any of that, so I haven’t really heard a whole lot from any basketball schools,” Kaufman said.
Unless a basketball program gets involved late, expect Kaufman to find an academic fit amongst his football options.
The Courier detailed his knee injury at length, a second ACL tear in his high school career.
Kaufman told us the injury afforded him an appreciation for athletic competition, being that he had to watch the O-G football team from the sidelines this fall. However, it’s had no impact on his effectiveness as a hooper.
“I don’t believe it’s had any real effect on my game … The biggest thing for me was getting back into basketball shape and being able to play extended minutes. Being able to full-court press teams, which is what we like to do,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman, a 4.0 student-athlete (26 ACT score), is physically and mentally tough following these health challenges. A little extra curricular activity on the block isn’t going to bother this versatile forward as much as it will the next guy.
Kaufman’s edge carries over to O-G, who I can tell you has no let-up in them after watching them double-up Wapakoneta in their season finale. In order to eliminate Kaufman and the Titans, you’ll need to be well conditioned and ready to take a few punches.