Ted Kapita wasn't new to the United States in early 2014, but he certainly was new to us. The slender center began to blow up at Melbourne (Fla.) Florida Air and turned in some eye-catching performances.
His lack of buzz actually made sense. He didn't compete on the travel circuit in 2013, putting him behind in terms of exposure compared with his peers. Even so, his coach at Florida Air cited Florida and South Florida as schools that got a jump on his recruitment early.
But Kapita transferred to Huntington (W.Va.) Prep in advance of his senior year and also toured the grassroots circuit this past summer. He played at the LeBron James Skills Academy, Fab 48 with Team Texas Elite and also participated at the Global Challenge.
Kapita is a long-armed physical specimen who impressed me immensely in Vegas. Surrounded by other high-major prospects, he stood out as the most athletic and aggressive on his team.
|Kapita doesn't lack for athleticism or energy|
He does his best work at the rim. 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.
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.
And you can't argue against his summer production. Playing with Pan Africa at the Global Challenge, in one game versus the U.S.A. South squad, he went for 36 points and 16 rebounds on 15-22 shooting. And four steals and three blocks. All this, against a foe loaded with high-major prospects. He's highly competitive and tough, and it doesn't take long watching him in action to figure that out.
Skill work resides atop his list. Kapita doesn't score well facing or with his back to the basket, unless he's able to get a shot up at the rim. He'll likely need years to develop reliable halfcourt offense, and at 6-9 he's fairly short for center when evaluating him for the pros.
He does make some aggressive drives from the high post on occasion, a glimpse of his future, but at times he also gets out of control when moving at top speed.
As long as expectations remain realistic — in other words, don't expect 20/10-type stuff upon his collegiate debut — he should be a crowd pleaser as a freshman. A strong, athletic big man with heart and grit always will win over the fans.
His offensive contributions may be limited in terms of variety, but that doesn't mean they'll be small. If Kapita becomes a utility specialist and transition finisher, he can pile up reasonable scoring numbers along with strong rebounding and blocks averages.
Without question, he possesses easy ability to succeed at the top of the college basketball food chain, with the opportunity to move beyond that stage successfully as well.