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2018 Recruiting: Gonzaga showing "lots of interest" in forward Kamaka Hepa

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The forward from Alaska could be the centerpiece of the 2018 recruiting class.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago, some Gonzaga coaches were in Portland, Oregon for an open gym at Jefferson High (Silas Melson's old stomping grounds), presumably to see Jefferson's newest student, Kamaka Hepa. The 6'8" SF/PF is currently rated as a four-star prospect and ranked inside the Top 40 of the 2018 class (per 247 sports and scout.com). Hepa originally hails from Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost city in the US) where he is a two-time winner of the state's Gatorade Player of the Year Award (2014-2016) for his play at Barrow High School. As a lower-classmen, Hepa helped Barrow win two consecutive state titles before electing to move to Portland last week, likely in hopes of garnering increased recruiting attention for his last two years of high school.

Hepa recently spoke with scout.com and revealed that he currently has offers in hand from Grand Canyon University, New Mexico, Northern Colorado, and our WCC cohorts Portland and San Francisco. However, he's beginning to receive increased interest from some high majors on the west coast and has already taken an unofficial visit to Oregon. Hepa is also planning visits to Gonzaga, Stanford, and UCLA in the near future, with the Zags having shown "lots of interest" in him.

With the qualifier that Alaska isn't exactly a high school basketball hot-bed, Hepa has produced impressive stat-lines in his preps career to date. As a freshman, Hepa averaged 17.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, and 2.5 bpg. Hepa raised his averages to 19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.2 bpg, and 2.8 apg, as a sophomore at Barrow. He also maintains a 4.0 GPA.

Hepa is considered to have a very well-rounded game, with range to the three-point line coupled with the strength and athleticism to score inside on a consistent basis. While his ball-handling needs to get better, he has great length and shows good instincts on the defensive end. As he continues to improve, especially against stronger competition now that he's transferred, he should become a legitimate two-way threat at the D1 level.

Although it doesn't sound like Hepa is planning for a quick recruitment process, he'll definitely be a player to watch closely over the next few recruiting cycles.