Men’s basketball: Kaputo transitions from Canadian prospect to Bona guard

(Photo courtesy of North Pole Hoops)

By Mike DeSanto @MJTD07

This year will be Nelson Kaputo’s first on the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team. Kaputo is a six-foot guard from Toronto, Ontario and is slated to play a majority of his time at point guard.

“He’s a pass first point guard,” said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. “He’s got a really good IQ for the game, he knows the game (and) he knows how to play.”

Kaputo chose Bonnies because he had come to feel that the program was the right fit for him and he was seeking a smaller program to enter.

Coming out of high school at St. Michael’s College School, Kaputo was ranked the eighth-best Canadian prospect by North Pole Hoops, averaging close to a double-double per game. He also played for the American Athletic Union team CIA Bounce in Canada.

“He can pass the ball, he’s good in the open court, he can knock down the open three (and) he’s a good defender,” Schmidt said. “He’s a quarterback; he cares about his teammates and he’s just somebody that we have a great deal of respect for.”

Schmidt also feels that Kaputo does face the typical growing pains of a freshman, including adjusting to the teams’ style of play and his teammates.

Kaputo was also a member of the Canadian under-17 national team and played for them at the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Dubai.

“It gave me a different outlook on basketball,” Kaputo said when describing the experience. “It’s a different kind of basketball that’s played over there.”

One of the main adjustments that he had to make was playing without the traditional goaltending rule, allowing players to block the ball even after it is above the rim. He found the whole experience to be “a culture shock” and is excited to play overseas for Canada again.

Kaputo sees Milwaukee Bucks guard Tyler Ennis as a mentor, speaking to the fellow Canadian every day and modeling his game after him. He also sees current Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade as his idol and an inspiration.

Overall, Kaputo is excited to start this chapter of his life at St. Bonaventure and help the team.

“The atmosphere at home games is just crazy to me and I just can’t wait to play in front of the home fans, giving everything I have to hopefully lead the team to an NCAA championship.”

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