For as long as anyone can remember, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have been chasing after Kamaka Hepa, a stellar power forward from Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, the Zags can stop chasing as Hepa announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns.
Hepa officially visited Gonzaga on Sept. 8, and he took his recruitment slowly and deliberately. For quite some time, the crystal ball was pointing towards Gonzaga, with Mark Few and Brian Michaelson squarely on the hunt. In the end, it looks like Texas told Hepa exactly what he needed to hear.
“At Texas, I just felt like I could help turn the program around,” he said. “After talking to Coach (Shaka) Smart and Coach Darrin Horn, building a relationship with them, I just felt really comfortable with them. I trust them to help me to get where I want to be. That was a game changer for me, the relationship that I have with both Coach Smart and Coach Horn.”
Since Brandon Clarke announced his transfer to Gonzaga, the state of the frontcourt isn’t as dire as it used to be. Johnathan Williams III will graduate, and there is the chance that either Killian Tillie or Rui Hachimura could jump ship into the NBA. There was plenty of room for Hepa to make an impact, almost immediately with the Zags.
However, if Tillie or Hachimura do not jump ship immediately, that timetable lags a bit for Hepa. Either way, out of all of the recruiting misses, this one hurts the most. The Zags have been on Hepa since the dawn of time, and although Portland isn’t exactly in Spokane’s backyard, it is still in the Pacific Northwest.