Texas Lands a Whole Hepa Awesomeness

Kamaka Hepa (courtesy of Hepa)

Kamaka Hepa (courtesy of Hepa)

There is absolutely no doubt about it, Shaka Smart can recruit.

The Longhorns welcomed 6’9″ power forward Kamaka Hepa to the program after he committed to Texas on Monday night.

Kamaka’s backstory is as diverse as his skillset.

An Alaska native who now calls Portland, OR home, the one constant about the gifted, all around interior player is that he seems to always make the right call: the right shot selection; the right pass; the right rebounding positioning; the right college…

Strengths:

  • Terrific decision maker with or without the ball
  • Legit 6’9
  • Sees the floor like a point guard
  • Unselfish player that is content to pass, screen or cut
  • True three point threat on flares or catch and shoot
  • Passes with vision and anticipation
  • Reads the action well on defense
  • Rarely out of position as a rebounder
  • Comfortable both facing and with his back to the basket

Growth Areas:

  • Needs to get stronger/fitter
  • Needs to get more explosive
  • Could probably stand to be a bit more selfish/aggressive

How Kamaka Fits:

It’s not tough to imagine Hepa being the understudy to Osetkowski for a year and then filling a comparable role. The presence of Sims gives Texas that super-athletic big man who can finish at the rim and be a shot blocker/changer, but Hepa’s role will be more of a facilitator and true power forward that can slide over and defend either position.

Offensively, his versatility will be what earns him the most minutes as he has the range to knock down perimeter shots while also being skilled with his footwork and low-post game enough to be a difference maker on the block.

The Endgame:

Kamaka is a terrific pickup for Shaka and his program, and yet another example of how strong a recruiting tandem he and assistant coach Darrin Horn are when they locate a big man who wants to be developed.

Hepa’s commitment serves as a safety net should Osetkowski truly blow up and decide to take off after next year or should another young big man decide to matriculate elsewhere.

In terms of the whole class, Hepa is commitment number four (joining wings Brock Cunningham and Gerald Liddell and post Jaxson Hayes).

The Longhorns are working overtime to land a difference making guard. While Keldon Johnson is not the probable commit he was a few months ago, Texas has progressed with Quentin Grimes since the summer and don’t be surprised if Courtney Ramey emerges as another possibility should Texas miss out on both Johnson and Grimes.

Welcome, Kamaka.