The Texas Longhorns latest pledge is officially a member of Shaka Smart’s 2018 class, as Portland Jefferson (Ore.) power forward Kamaka Hepa signed his National Letter of Intent to Texas on Thursday, the school announced.
A four-star product of the Great Northwest, Hepa has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success throughout the first three years of his high school career. Prior to moving to Oregon, where he subsequently helped lead Portland Jefferson to a state title, Hepa helped lead Barrow (Ala.) to back-to-back state titles and thus, earned back-to-back Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2015 and 2016.
More recently on the Nike EYBL circuit, Hepa averaged 12.8 points per game and connected on his three-point attempts at a 41.6 percent clip throughout 16 games.
As expected considering his productivity level and modern-day stretch forward style, Hepa had a variety of prominent programs in pursuit of his services. Gonzaga emerged as a finalist down the stretch, but Washington, Arizona, Oregon, USC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all extended offers, as well.
But of course, the effort Smart and his staff put forth of the recruiting trail paid dividends down the stretch and when it came time to make a decision, Hepa had burnt orange on the brain.
“For me, it was not only the relationship that I had, but also that my family had with coach Smart and the rest of the staff as well as going on the trip to Austin,” Hepa told Evan Daniels of Scout.com of his decision to choose Texas. “I had a great time, bonded with the players and I really liked the environment. So those were some of the key things and I know a lot of people don’t see the fit of me going there but after talking with coach [Shaka] Smart and coach [Darrin] Horn I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that I could go down there and affect that program.”
In Hepa, Texas added a skill offensive option who possesses the ability to score at an efficient rate from all three levels on the court. By the time of his arrival in Austin, the ‘Horns should boast a deep and experienced frontcourt, which should afford Hepa the time to develop in areas such as his strength. In any case, he certainly looks the part of a long-term offensive weapon once he gets acclimated to the college game.
A 6’9, 210-pound prospect, Hepa is ranked as the nation’s No. 50 player, No. 13 power forward and the No. 1 player in Oregon, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.