The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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14 ■ THE WOLFPACKER NC State freshman power forward Ted Kapita took out weeks of frustration on St. Francis Brooklyn Nov. 13. Kapita made his Wolfpack debut and immediately showed what made him a highly regarded four-star prospect at one point. He proved to be a jolt of energy for a team that was a bit short-handed in an 86-61 win. NC State was forced to shuffle the lineup when sophomore small forward Maverick Rowan was held out due to concussion- like symptoms. The Wolfpack was also without freshman center Omer Yurtseven, who didn't become eligible to play until Dec. 15. Senior center BeeJay Anya got the starting nod next to junior power forward Abdul-Malik Abu. Kapita joined Anya on the court after Abu got into foul trouble with 5:23 left in the first half, and quickly made up for lost time with eight points and three rebounds by halftime. The 6-8, 219-pounder from the Congo was almost perfect on the afternoon, shooting 7 of 8 from the field. He scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had one assist in 24 minutes of action. An excellent free throw shooter, Kapita was visibly irritated when he missed one (he went 3 of 4 at the line). "I went in there and did whatever I had to do to win," Kapita said. "I expect myself to play hard every time." Kapita learned before the start of season opener against Geor- gia Southern Nov. 11 that he was going to be cleared by the NCAA. He was held out of the two exhibition games and the season opener, and was expected to slowly work his way into the rotation. He showed that he is ready to contribute now. "I work so hard throughout the process with the coach, school and family," Kapita said. "They kept me humble and said, 'Wait, be patient. Everything will work.' I persevered, took my time and prayed." Kapita hit another hurdle when he was forced to miss three games at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, due to his I-20 form (certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status) needing to be updated. He broke into NC State's start- ing lineup against Boston University Dec. 3, and was averaging 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds through the Wolfpack's first eight games (four of which he has played in). Kapita arrived in the United States in 2012 at Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, Fla. He then made the move to Hun- tington (W.Va.) Prep for his senior year, and was poised for a breakout campaign. However, Kapita suffered an injury that wiped out his season, but not his recruitment. Arkansas signed him during the spring, but he didn't qualify academically. In limbo, he was rumored to be flirting with dif- ferent professional leagues in Las Vegas or overseas in France. Instead, he attended DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla., and played for legendary prep coach Chris Chaney. He verbally committed to SMU last year, but once again found his plans in flux and parted ways with the Mustangs. He said that he put his trust in God and realized that playing for Arkan- sas or SMU wasn't going to be the path he was on. NCSU assistant coach Butch Pierre has known Chaney for a few decades, and the Wolfpack made their move. Kapita quali- fied academically and signed with NC State. The next step was to get cleared by the NCAA, which was looking into his amateur status. "I didn't know how to answer the questions because I've been here since 2012 without parents or anything," Kapita said. "I almost had to do everything by myself. "I had to answer NCAA questions every day. I was mentally a little weak because I didn't know how to answer them. I had never done it." The hard work and lengthy wait eventually proved worth it for both Kapita and NC State. TRACKING THE PACK Freshman Ted Kapita Is Cleared By The NCAA, And Earns First Start Kapita compiled 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action during his NC State debut in an 86-61 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn Nov. 13. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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