Last week, a highly-touted four-star recruit out of Portland (Ore.) committed to the Texas Longhorns as a member of Shaka Smart’s recruiting class. Kamaka Hepa is Scout’s No. 50-ranked recruit and appears to possess the potential to become a program-changing player. Standing at 6’9, Hepa will come into his freshman season potentially paired with a returning frontcourt of Dylan Osetkowski, James Banks, and Jericho Sims.
Coming from Jefferson High School and playing for EYBL sponsored Portland Basketball Club, Hepa is Texas’ fourth 2018 commit. His fast-paced, inside-out style of play will fit smoothly into Smart’s system and he could be in line to contribute immediately once arriving on campus.
Burnt Orange Nation got the chance to interview someone who spent much of Hepa’s high school years with him and presumably knows Hepa better than almost anyone — Reggie Walker, the program director of Portland Basketball Club.
BON: What drew Kamaka to Texas? Why was it the best fit for him?
Walker: Kamaka built a strong relationship with the coaching staff at UT. He and Coach Horn spoke often throughout his recruiting process while Coach Smart made it clear that he’s a priority of theirs and that he can develop into a program-changing player.
BON: How is he working on transitioning to the faster, stronger college game?
Walker: Kamaka is one of the hardest working, self-motivated and best self-starters that I've ever been around. He is working everyday to prepare to have success not only at the next level, but in life.
BON: What’s Kamaka like off the court? What can Texas fans expect from him outside of basketball?
Walker: He's a terrific kid. He is very bright, respectful, humble, and fun to be around. Kamaka has a great personality and gets along with everyone.
BON: What is the best part of Kamaka’s game?
Walker: The best part of his game is his mind and approach. He almost always makes the right play. Whether it's making the right pass, taking a charge, or making a shot in crunch time, he always makes the right basketball play. He honors the game. His next best attributes are his passing, playmaking and shooting.
BON: What is he working to get better at?
Walker: He is working on all facets of his game. We are on him about becoming more aggressive on both sides of the ball and becoming a menace defensively. He’s learning to and is capable of guarding multiple positions.
BON: What are some of his goals for this coming high school season?
Walker: He is a team oriented player so his goals are team goals. Repeating as state champions and winning the Les Schwab Invitational are definitely atop his priorities.
BON: Tell us something about Kamaka that we’d be surprised to hear.
Walker: Not surprising to me, but he is a 4.0 student. He also ran cross-country in high school. (You’ve gotta see the picture.)
I, and I'd bet a lot of you, would definitely love to see that photo.
In any case, it sounds as if Reggie has nothing but great things to say about Kamaka, so Texas fans should expect nothing but great things from him. Hepa will be an important piece of the Texas basketball program’s future, and it sure seems as though he’s someone we wouldn’t mind having around Austin for a few years.