Kauffman pulling double duty at ASU [Basketball]

December 19, 2012
Justin Kaufman

It’s one thing to be a two-sport star in high school but to play football and basketball in college, well, that’s different story.

Yet Justin Kauffman of Anchorage is doing it.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore transfer is a fullback on the football team and a shooting guard for the basketball squad at Adams State University, a NCAA D2 school in Colorado.

Within a six-day span last month, Kauffman turned in one of the greatest 1-2 performances by an Alaska athlete when he rushed for a career-high 127 yards on the gridiron and then scored 18 points in his debut with the hoops team.

Kauffman was an all-state performer in both sports at West High, and he played basketball for one season at Laramie Community College in Wyoming.

Then he came to Adams State, where he could play football and basketball.

He doesn’t just play. He’s a star.

“It’s not all what I expected,” he told me. “Playing one sport in college would be a huge success but to be able to play two, it’s been a real blessing.”

How are you doing it?

“I don’t know honestly,” he added with a laugh. “I’m used to going from football to basketball. Continuing to have that love for the game, I think that’s the only way you can.”

Kauffman didn’t get a chance to shine on the football team until later in the season when he replaced an injured teammate. In the final two games of the season he ran for 229 yards and his lone touchdown.

“At the beginning of the football season I wasn’t sure how much I’d play,” he said. “Then I got in for a little bit and a little bit, every game was more and more. I built up that confidence and then by the end of the season, we had a guy go down and I stepped up. I already had that confidence and I was prepared for it.”

Six days after his final football game, he played his first basketball game. He made four 3-pointers, with most of them fueling a late-game rally that powered the victory.

Kauffman is averaging 8.3 points coming off the bench and Adams State is 7-0 to start the season.

“I enjoy it, so as long as I’m out there having fun I’ll continue to have a good time,” he said.