Transfer Portal: Texas’ Kamaka Hepa explores options for new school, UAF’s Sommerfield heads to Lewis-Clark State College
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As the collegiate basketball season officially closes and the NCAA modifies its transfer rules , a large number student-athletes have already entered the transfer portal, with that number potentially reaching the thousands by summer. One of Alaska’s few current Division I men’s basketball players is exploring their options, with former Barrow High School standout and University of Texas junior Kamaka Hepa officially entering the transfer portal.
The pride of Utqiagvik, Hepa won back-to-back Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year honors his freshman and sophomore seasons with Barrow, before transferring to Jefferson High School in Portland where he won the award in Oregon his senior year (2017-18).
Recruited and coached by Shaka Smart, Hepa appeared in 51 games (11 starts) during his first two seasons with the program, averaging 11.2 minutes per game over that span. However, during his junior season, the 6-9 forward played just 56 total minutes over nine games, with most of his production coming in a 15 point-3 rebound-1 assists-1 steal performance where he made 5 of his 8 three-point attempts in 26 minutes in a win over Kansas State. Smart and the Longhorns parted ways after Texas’ Round of 64 exit, with Smart accepting the head coaching position at Marquette University.
Hepa, the former four-star recruit enters the portal as a graduate transfer with two years remaining of eligibility.
University of Alaska Fairbanks forward Alex Sommerfield entered the transfer portal in late March and found his new home by early April. The 6-7 sharpshooter has transferred to Lewis-Clark State College (NAIA) in Lewiston, Idaho for his senior season. Sommerfield appeared in 30 games and started 10 of them for the Blue and Gold during his lone season in Fairbanks. During the 2019-20 season, the Federal Way, Washington-native tallied 213 points (5th on team), 24 assists (4th), 36 made three-pointers (3rd) at 37.1% (2nd), while leading the team with 16 blocks. Sommerfield’s most notable performance came on January 4, 2020 when he netted 17 points to go with 5 rebounds and 4 steals in a 86-68 loss to Seattle Pacific.
In the classroom, Sommerfield maintained a 4.0 GPA during the 2019-20 academic year and was named to the GNAC Men’s Basketball All-Academic Team and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court while studying digital journalism.
Lewis-Clark finished runner-up at the 2021 NAIA National Championship game and feature three Alaskans in the program in associate head coach Leif Karlberg (Anchorage) and players Nathan Fromm (Anchorage) and Colton Spencer (Palmer).
Other Nanooks on the 2019-20 roster to enter the transfer portal include Deshawn Kelly (Senior, Seattle, Washington) and Keshaun Howard (Senior, Brooklyn, New York). The 2020-21 UAF roster, which did not get to compete this year, welcomed transfers Quin Barnard (University of Washington), Roberto Gittens (UC Santa Barbara), Willie Thomas III (Skagit Valley College) and Zac Olmsted (Olympic College). UAF expects those who transferred to Fairbanks ahead of the 2020-21 season will remain within the program for the 2021-22 season.
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