Kapita Sizes up Arkansas Visit

Huntington, W.V. Prep standout Ted Kapita (6-9, 220) and his head coach Arkell Bruce talk about their visit to Arkansas this weekend and the possibility of the big man becoming a Razorback.

If ever there was a coach and a player meant for each other, it just might be Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson and Huntington, West Virginia, Prep big man Ted Kapita.

Anderson, who has always stressed defense in his coaching career and has longed for rebounding help since his arrival in Fayetteville in the spring of 2011, and his program hosted Kapita (6-9, 220) this weekend on his official visit.

Kapita – a native of the Congo and a four-star prospect ranked as the 34th-best player in the 2015 class by Scout.com – tossed out this assessment when asked about his game.

“Rebounding is part of defense,” Kapita said. “I try to get those rebounds so it will help my team get more chances to score on offense. If we don't get rebounds, it means we don't play tough defense. For me, it is the most important thing – get the rebound, push the ball and finish above the rim.”

The Arkansas visit was Kapita's third official visit – he had earlier been to West Virginia and Memphis - and he was accompanied by Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce.

Bruce said the Razorbacks' fast tempo fits Kapita, but Arkansas' biggest factor may be the sense of family he got on the trip.

He got that while being hosted by the team's current big men - Bobby Portis, Trey Thompson and former Huntington Prep center Moses Kingsley.

“That fits him, but honestly he can play anyway,” Bruce said. “He can grind it out. But I think one of the main things – and when we walked in here it was go great – is the family atmosphere they have here. That is going over big with him. Trey, Bobby and Moses – those guys are his hosts and that really helps because they are great guys, great teammates and great to be around.”

Kapita, who played his first two high school campaigns at Florida Air Academy and averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds last season, echoed that sentiment about his trio of hosts.

“They are good people,” Kapita said. “I know Moses. He came from the same high school Huntington Prep. I know him as a good guy. I know the rest of them, too. They got invited to the LeBron camp last summer. I know most of them. They are good people. I enjoy spending time with them.”

Kapita who came into the weekend with thoughts of possibly taking two more visits to Missouri and Oregon, said trust with his head coach is also a big factor for him.

“I want to be in good shape with my teammate and my coach,” Kapita said. “Kind of trust each other. I want my coach to trust me because I trust myself and what I can do in a basketball game. So wherever I go, I just want them to trust me and give me a chance to play and expand my game. That's all.”

It doesn't hurt Arkansas that the daughter of Kapita's current host family in Huntington lives just 25 miles away from Fayetteville.

She was on hand with her two sons to greet Kapita during his visit.

“That is the daughter of his host family,” Bruce said. “She lives here so that will play another part because he is real tight with the host dad. He was supposed to be on the trip, but he couldn't move things around to come with him.”

Kapita is an athletic player, but said he had never measured his vertical jump.

“I have never tried to figure out what was my vertical, but I think it is close to 40 (inches), 39 or 40,” Kapita said.

Bruce lauded Arkansas' coaches. who have recruited Huntington Prep since its inception in 2009.

“Arkansas’ coaches are world-class guys and great coaches,” Bruce said. “I have really enjoyed being around them when they are recruiting our kids."

He also noted that he likes what he sees out of the current edition of the Razorbacks.

“Great athleticism, of course,” Bruce said. “I knew that coming in though. They have really, really great size and a lot of skill involved with their bigs. Moses Kingsley, of course he played for us, he looks great. I am glad to see that.”

Bruce noted that the small size of Fayetteville fits Kapita.

“He loves it here,” Bruce said. “He does not want to be a big city.”

When asked if a commitment might be near, Kapita said he was just taking it all in.

“I don't pressure myself,” Kapita said. “Right now I am just enjoying it. Whatever happens in the future, God will provide and help me to make my decision.”

Kapita said the move to Huntington was strictly about his development as a basketball player after two years at Florida Air Academy.

He goes up against 6-11 Thomas Bryant every day in practice and Huntington has a loaded roster with a plethora of elite Division I prospects and four kids over 6-9.

“The good thing about my teammates is that we challenge each other,” Kapita said. “We go hard after each other every day in practice. That helps you to grow as a basketball player and develop.

“...My teammate Thomas is 6-11 so every time I go against him, it helps me to figure out how to finish above the rim because he is tall,” Kapita added. “That is the good thing about my team and they are good people. I enjoy Huntington. There are a bunch of good people there.”

Bruce said the switch to Huntington will do a world of good for Kapita.

“He is still learning things,” Bruce said. “There it was just more of him being better than everybody else. At our level, you have got to know how to play, too. It is such a high level of high school basketball that we have guys going into college ready to play. That is where we are getting him right now.

“As far as his skill, it's always been there,” Bruce added. “He can shoot the ball, he can put it on the floor a little bit, extremely athletic. Now it is just putting it all together with the know how, defensively closing out, how to guard and not taking breaks.”

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