On Wednesday Inside the Gators, as well as a couple of college coaches, had a first hand look at 2015 Florida Air power forward Ted Kapita, and the big man didn't disappoint. The junior scored 11 points (unofficially: 5-10 FGs) while pulling down 22 rebounds and adding three blocked shots in a win over Williston.
Though performances like that are the norm, Kapita is flying below the radar. That is the case because he is eschewing the AAU basketball circuit in order to stay in the gym and work on his game with his Florida Air Academy coaches. Because of that, it's taken longer for the buzz to pick up about Kapita, but college coaches are taking notice and beginning to come around.
"He's been offered by Florida, Texas and South Florida. Kansas, Georgetown, Michigan State and Syracuse haven't offered yet but they're in touch with me," Florida Air Academy head coach Aubin Goporo said. The Kansas coach told me that they want him to come to their camp so they can see him against tougher competition."
Assistant coaches from Georgetown and Texas were in the gym watching Kapita Wednesday evening.
The Congo native said that he has been working on his flexibility, his power move to the basket and his mid-range jump shot before adding that he won't be on the AAU circuit.
"Coach doesn't want me to play AAU. He wants me to work on my game. I trust Coach Goporo, he's helped me a lot," explained Kapita. "I love playing defense. Defense is the most important part of the game for my team. I have to get a lot of rebounds because that keeps the other team from getting a second chance to score."
Kapita scores most of his points around the basket, either on put-backs, dunks or short shots in the lane. In the game we saw, he only attempted two shots longer than five feet; a jumper from the elbow and a fade away from just inside the three point line -- he missed both, but on the shot from the elbow his mechanics were good. He is mobile. He's runs the court with ease. He'll even grab a rebound and push the ball up court looking for a teammate to make a play, while staying disciplined and in control. He sees the court well and is a good passer from the post or when he's on the perimeter.
This is where Kapita excels. He's a voracious defensive rebounder, inside and outside of his area. He has a quick second jump that allows him to grab balls tipped by other players or rebound shots that he just attempted to block. Speaking of which, Kapita contests shots in and outside of his area but needs to work on blocking shots without taking himself out of position if his team doesn't get the loose ball.
At 6-foot-9, 220-pounds Kapita already has very good size and length. He's got a great frame that will allow him to add weight without losing his athleticism. Additionally, he willing to set screens, talks on defense and has good speed and quickness and an excellent motor.
Right now, Kapita may be the class of 2015's best kept secret, but he may not be a hidden gem for much longer.