Freshman forward Ted Kapita will miss N.C. State’s three games in the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands due to a student visa issue, coach Mark Gottfried said on Tuesday.
N.C. State is working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get Kapita’s student visa paperwork updated. There is a risk if Kapita leaves the country, he would have trouble getting back in through customs.
Kapita is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and spent last year at DME Academy in Melbourne, Fla. He is not in jeopardy of being deported from the country but leaving the United States, even for a U.S. territory, would require updated I-20 paperwork that has Kapita affiliated with N.C. State.
The Wolfpack (2-0) is scheduled to leave for St. Thomas on Wednesday and face Montana in the opening round of the eight-team tournament on Friday. N.C. State will either face Creighton or Washington State on Sunday and is scheduled to play a third game on Monday.
Kapita was just recently cleared by the NCAA after a review of his amateur status. He missed N.C. State’s 81-79 season-opening win over Georgia Southern this past Friday while the NCAA was still in the process of determining his eligibility.
He was cleared on Friday and played in Sunday’s 86-61 win over St. Francis Brooklyn. The 6-8, 219-pound power forward came off the bench to score 17 points and finished with a team-best eight rebounds in 24 minutes.
Sophomore wing Maverick Rowan missed the St. Francis win with concussion-like symptoms but is going to be available for the Paradise Jam. Without Kapita, Gottfried will likely go back to a four-guard lineup and forward Abdul-Malik Abu.
N.C. State will have to rebound better than it did with that lineup against Georgia Southern. The smaller Eagles had 20 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Wolfpack, 46 to 44.
With senior forward BeeJay Anya in the starting lineup on Sunday, and with Kapita coming off the bench, N.C. State out-rebounded St. Francis, 44 to 30.
N.C. State’s depth at forward is fairly thin without Kapita. Abu and Anya are the only true post players while freshman forward Omer Yurtseven serves a nine-game suspension. Yurtseven, a 7-footer from Turkey, will be eligible to return on Dec. 15.
Kapita will be back with the team for its next home game on Nov. 26.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio