Kapita Is Big Addition For Arkansas

With Thursday nigh's commitment of 6-9, 220-pound Huntington Prep power forward Ted Kapita to go along with 6-4 shooting guard Jimmy Whitt, Arkansas has landed two Top 55 players nationally and prepared itself for the loss of seniors Rashad Madden and Alandise Harris.

It’s been a great week so far Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and his basketball program.

In addition to picking up a road win at Auburn 101-87 Tuesday night, the Razorbacks (19-5, 8-3) landed 6-9, 220-pound power forward and Congo native Ted Kapita of Huntington, W.V. Prep.

The top 50 player nationally chose Arkansas out of a final five of Missouri, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Oregon.

"He just loved the small town atmosphere and hit it off well with all the coaches and players,” Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce said Friday morning. “Arkansas did a great job recruiting him and stuck with him through his injury and let him know that he was their number one target and treated him as so.

“He wanted to return the favor by staying with Arkansas and thought now would be a good time to go ahead and make his commitment to a team and a situation that he is really excited about.”

Kapita has been limited to just five games this season because of a pinched nerve in his hip.

“He hurt it and then tried to come back to soon and hurt it again,” Bruce said. “The doctors just told him he needed to rest it and make sure he was fully healthy before he came back.

“We’re thinking he'll come back and play some this season, probably in about two weeks,” noted Bruce, whose team is 26-2 and ranked sixth in the country by USA Today.

Kapita – who has a 7-2 ½ wing span - is ranked as the 43rd-best player in the country by Scout.com and joins Columbia, Mo., Hickman shooting guard Jimmy Whitt (6-4, 170) in Arkansas’ 2015 class.

“This is an impressive two-man recruiting class for Mike Anderson,” Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels said. “Both of these guys are top 60 players. Whitt brings versatility and a scoring punch, while Kapita can really help boost them inside. This is an impressive haul that looks like a top 30 recruiting class in the country.”

Kapita's hip injury has only allowed him to play in five games this season.

He rose up the rankings with his junior season at Florida Air and his spring and summer play for Team Texas in AAU action.

“The first thing that stands out about Kapita is his size and strength,” Daniels said. “He plays physical in the paint and likes to mix it up with the opposition. He's a good athlete that routinely can carve out good position.

“He's a quality rebounder and a good finisher at the goal,” Daniels added. “He could spruce up his scoring moves, but there are a lot of quality tools to work with.”

Kapita was also solid at the Nike Global Challenge in August when he averaged 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while playing for the Pan Africa squad.

In one game at the Global Challenge, Kapita had 36 points and 18 rebounds while hitting 15-of-22 field goals, 6 of 9 free throws, blocked four shots and had three steals.

Scout.com national analyst Rob Harrington was on hand for that game.

“He does his best work at the rim,” Harrington said. “Which is to say, he does his best work above the rim. Kapita is a springy athlete who rises for numerous slams and rebounds.

“He also blocks shots emphatically and runs the floor to make himself a factor in the transition game,” Harrington added. “He's also strong in a lean way. Kapita boasts broad shoulders that will enable him to become a monster on the glass at the college level.”

Bruce, who came with Kapita for his official visit to Arkansas in October, compared Kapita to current Denver NBA player Kenneth Faried.

“He is a player like (NBA star) Kenneth Faried in that he plays hard, really attacks and has a high motor and is a great rebounder, but I think he shoots the ball better than Faried,” Bruce said. “I think some people sleep on him offensively, but he has a lot more skill than people think.”

Kapita arrived in the United States in September, 2011 and played at Florida Air Academy – where he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds last season - before deciding to transfer to Huntington for his senior season.

It is the same West Virginia school where current Razorback sophomore center Moses Kingsley finished his prep career.

“He (Kapita) is a strong, strong kid and has broad shoulders and will put on another 20 pounds or so of muscle,” Bruce said. “He has a great work ethic, but I would say one of the things we are working with him is knowing that in college he will have to play hard every night, that the players are going to be just as good as yours.”

Arkansas is hopeful to play Kapita alongside current star Bobby Portis next season unless Portis decides to apply to the NBA draft.

“Ted Kapita is a great pickup for Arkansas,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “He provides another talented and athletic big man who can either back up or replace Bobby Portis next season. As long as his motor is running, he’s a talented prospect.”

ESPN.com recruiting analyst Reggie Rankin has Kapita as the nation’s 40th-best prospect.

Kapita reminds us of former Arkansas standout Derek Hood at times with his explosiveness in transition,” Rankin said. “He is in attack mode anytime he receives the ball around the rim within the half-court set.”

Rankin assessed Kapita’s game.

“The No. 40 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 is a strong and physical post that runs the floor well and is a powerful finisher on the break,” Rankin said. “In the half-court set he can score on the block through contact and over smaller players with very good touch. Kapita can step out to about 15 feet and hit the open jumper. He also is a major factor on the glass on both ends of the floor.

“Anderson has a dependable front line player that can finish on the break,” Rankin added. “At 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, Kapita is someone who can score on the low block.

“He can bring less mobile players away from the basket and attack with short quick finishes in the lane,” Rankin continued. “Kapita is also a powerful dunker when he receives drop off passes created by dribble penetration.”

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