One of the more sought-after recruits in the class of 2018, incoming HS Filipino-American senior Kamaka Hepa has made known his college of choice after giving his nod to US NCAA Division 1 side University of Texas Longhorns.
Classified as a four-star prospect and ranked nationally as a top-50 prospect in his batch, the 6’9″ slotman announced his commitment to the Big 12 school via twitter Wednesday morning (Manila time) thru Corey Evans of hoops recruiting website Rivals.com:
— kamaka q. (@kamaka_hepa4) October 31, 2017
This decision ends an almost two-year recruitment process for Hepa starting from his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Barrow HS Whalers in Alaska. He has since moved to Portland, Oregon wherein he starred for the Jefferson HS Democrats. During the 2016-17 season, the power-playing Hepa tallied a double-double average per night of 16.5 points and 12.2 rebounds while adding 5.8 blocks in his first year with the Democrats.
Hepa’s solid performance on both ends of the floor helped top-ranked Jefferson to an almost perfect 27-1 record and in the process claim their 9th state title in school history as well as their first-ever 6A state boys basketball crown in March of this year. In recognition of this feat on the hardwood, Hepa was named to the 2016-17 All-USA Oregon Boys Basketball First Team along with teammate Geno West.
The Fil-Am big is also coming off a off-season that included playing for the first time in the Philippines as a member of the visiting Filam Sports USA squad during an invitational HS tournament held earlier this year as well. Tracing his paternal roots to Pangasinan as his father Roland is half-Filipino, the younger Hepa impressed in his debut game on local soil by putting up 27 markers, 13 caroms, 7 blocks and 5 assists against one of the country’s top prep squads in the San Beda Red Cubs.
— Pong Ducanes (@ompongski) March 16, 2017
He also made waves in the summer basketball scene wherein he spearheaded the Portland Basketball Club in this year’s Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL). Hepa registered averages of 12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and almost 2 steals and 2 assists per contest while managing to convert 40% of his attempts from the perimeter.
Prior to his enlistment with the Longhorns, Hepa was in the radar of several Division 1 programs that included Arizona, Gonzaga, Kansas, Stanford, Washington, University of Southern California, California-Berkeley, Utah, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, New Mexico, Nebraska and Oklahoma, among others.
Recruited by Texas head coach Shaka Smart and assistant Darrin Horn, who coached Gilas Pilipinas and Ginebra cager Japeth Aguilar when the latter suited up for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers several years ago, Hepa will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Longhorns alumni that are currently stomping their class in the NBA. These include former MVP and newly-minted champion Kevin Durant of Golden State, fellow NBA titlist Tristan Thompson of Cleveland, San Antonio Spur All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, NBA All-Defensive team staple Avery Bradley of Detroit and Indiana Pacer pivot Myles Turner.
Before Hepa officially decks himself in the burnt orange and white jersey of the Texas Longhorns, check the video below of his on-court dominance at the Premier Summer Showcase in Oregon during the off-season:
Photo c/o Oregon Live website