June 12, 2012

Nick Capiti more than eyeing Tigers

Kevin McCarthy

Some of us haven't a clue about what tomorrow let alone next year will bring but not Merritt College basketball player Nick Capiti. The former Bishop O'Dowd talent has mapped out his hoops and education future and is preparing to head to the Sunflower State.

Capiti has cast his lot with Fort Hays State University (FHSU), a D-II program in Kansas headed by Coach Mark Johnson. A member of the Mid America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the Tigers have gone 226-98 in 12 seasons under Johnson, are often nationally ranked and finished seventh in attendance in D-II while also topping the conference in that department.

photo of Nick Capiti signing the Letter of Intent

Why did Capiti choose Fort Hays?

"It's a real good school academically and has a great basketball tradition," he explained. "They've won three national championships."

The 6-foot-2 backcourter held offers from Cal Maritime, University of Missouri St. Louis and Western Oregon University, plus interest from Coppin State, Loyola Chicago, Pepperdine and UC Davis.

Regarding the latter, Capiti was accepted there and will hold his admittance letter as he plans on attending Davis for graduate school once he has completed his B.A. studies in Kansas. This spring, he earned an A.A. degree in business from Merritt while possessing a cumulative 3.4 grade point average, 3.7 in his last semester.

A telltale sign of Capiti's values is, when asked why he chose Merritt after Bishop O'Dowd, he explained, "The coaching staff. I've known Coach [Maurice] Compton a long time. He has always been there for me and I thought I should be there for him." Compton has ceded the reins of the Thunderbird program to Keenan McMiller.

What Tiger fans will see from him is "whatever coach needs me to do, score, pass, run the team." Capiti averaged 14.9 point per game this past Merritt season, shooting 54% overall, 51% on 76 three-point attempts and he went to the foul line a formidable 170 times. He grabbed 5.6 rebounds a contest, led the Thunderbirds with 46 steals and finished third on the squad with 55 assists.

Capiti will continue on with business management as his major.

He recalls his best moment in basketball as "going to the state championship while at Bishop O'Dowd, even though we lost [63-59 to Serra High]."

Asked about what differences he sees in himself since that high school senior year, Capiti offered, "I've matured a lot. I'm a lot more humble and thankful because now I've seen real life problems, people working real hard while also going to school, trying to get ahead."

Here's McMiller on his backcourter: "Nick is a hard working kid who has come into his own in his two years here at Merritt. This past season, Nick was our leading scorer at 15 points per game. and this accomplishment is a testament to his work ethic in the classroom and on the court."