Kapita Getting Back to Action

Arkansas basketball pledge Ted Kapita (6-9, 240) has been practicing for the past two weeks and is expected to play in the Dick's Sporting Goods National High School Tournament in New York City on April 2-4 per Huntington Prep head coach Arkell Bruce, who believes Arkansas could have a special season in 2015-2016.

After nearly a full season of nursing a pinched nerve injury in his hip, Arkansas basketball commit Ted Kapita is back on the court and ready to help his team try to win a national championship.

Kapita (6-9, 240) – a top 44 player nationally per Scout.com - has been practicing for the last two weeks according to Huntington , W.V, Prep head coach Arkell Bruce.

He is set to play for the Express when it plays in the Dick’s Sporting Good National High School Tournament April 2-4 in New York City – an event that will be broadcast on the various ESPN TV platforms.

“He’s been practicing the last two weeks and looks fully healthy,” Bruce said Tuesday afternoon. “Now of course it is about him getting back in basketball shape so he can come in and give us some major minutes in the tournament.

“I’m excited about what I am seeing from him,” Bruce added. “He’s obviously very hungry and ready to play.”

Fifth-seeded Huntington Prep (30-2) will face fourth-seeded Wheeler, Ga., High School at 1 p.m. CST in the opening round of the eight-team event to be held at Thursday and Friday at Christ the King High School and Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Express has been led this season by McDonald’s All-American forward Thomas Bryant (6-10, 220), who is unsigned and looking at Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Syracuse.

Adding in Kapita – who has been limited to five games this season after averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds as a junior at Florida Air Academy – is a blessing per Bruce.

“We’ve had a great season, but obviously Ted is a top 40 player nationally so getting him back makes us even better,” Bruce said. “We’re just going to go up there and see what we can get done.”

The other first-round match-ups have third-seeded Blance Ely, Fla., facing sixth-seeded Las Vegas, NV, Findley Prep at 11 a.m., second seed Montverde, Fla., Academy meeting Greensboro, N.C., Day at 3 p.m. and top-seed Oak Hill Academy facing Bronx, N.Y., Wings Academy at 5 p.m.

The event will also feature LSU signee and Montverde star Ben Simmons and Wheeler small forward Jaylen Brown – generally regarded as the nation’s two best players in the 2015 class.

There’s also Findley standout and Arizona commit Allonzo Trier, Oak Hill’s duo of Dwayne Bacon and Daniel Giddens, Wings Academy center Jesse Govan, Montverde’s Noah Dickerson and 2016 stars Miles Bridges of Huntington and Justin Jackson of Findley Prep.

Bruce said Kapita will sign with Arkansas when the month-long late signing period opens April 15, is good to go academically and should be reporting to Arkansas in early July for the second semester of summer school.

“He is good to go,” Bruce said. “He’ll be a Razorback and I think the fans are going to love him and how hard he plays.”

Kapita had 36 points and 18 rebounds in one outing last summer while connecting on 15-of-22 field goals, 6-of-9 free throws, blocking four shots and getting three steals while playing for Pan Africa at the Nike Global Challenge last August.

“He can just be a beast,” Bruce said. “He is a chiseled young man who is strong and just getting stronger.”

Kapita and Bruce both got a chance to watch Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament and it has both excited about what the Razorbacks could be next season.

The potential of keeping current Razorback stars Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls and adding in Kapita and Columbia, Mo., Hickman guard Jimmy Whitt as well as Texas Tech transfer Dusty Hannahs could be a lethal mix.

“If Portis comes back and you add in Ted and the guard from Missouri – who is really, really good – then you are talking about something really, really special,” Bruce said.

“I think they really would start out as a Top 15 team in the country and could have a chance to win the national championship with that group,” Bruce said. “I really do.

“If Portis doesn’t come back, then I think they still have a chance to be really good because of what Ted and the guard will add,” Bruce continued. “But again, we are just talking really special if they are all together and that would really be fun to watch.”

Kapita – who has a 7-2 ½ feet wing span - chose Arkansas over Memphis, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Oregon.

“He just loves those coaches and players there and they did the best job of recruiting him and making him feel at home,” Bruce said.

“He is going to add rebounding, toughness and he is a skilled power forward that is going to be able to provide them with scoring also,” Bruce said. “He will go in and be a force for Arkansas down low and he also has the ability to step out and knock down shots.”

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