BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – Every team needs that one player who helps to keep the locker fun and loose. At Western Reserve, that player on both the football gridiron and the basketball hardwood is senior Jack Cappabianca.
“He is a goofball, he’s a goofball,” Devils basketball coach Pat Daltorio said with a smile. “Jack is a really funny kid with a funny personality, very carefree. But when the lights go on you flip his switch and Jack becomes a creature. “
“He’s a football player in a nutshell. He lives, breathes, and dies football. He has the opportunity to go down to Ohio State and walk-on and he brings that type of toughness and mentality here to the basketball court,” Daltorio added.
Cappabianca was awarded the opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Ohio State following graduation this spring. As a preferred walk-on he will be given the chance to be a full member of the Buckeye football team, he just won’t receive a scholarship for academics. However, the hope is that if he sticks with it, he could be given a full scholarship somewhere down the line.
“It was very shocking,” Cappabianca admitted about receiving word that he was given the preferred walk-on status. “It came in an e-mail one weekend over the summer. My coach (Andy Hake) contacted me saying that you’re going to get a call from Aaron Hodges from Ohio State and he wants to talk to you about giving you a preferred walk-on.”
“I was ecstatic,” Cappabianca exclaimed. “I knew if I got it I was going to accept it right away. You can’t beat that. That was a goal of mine for a long time to play college football and I’m glad that I got the opportunity.”
With the invitation, Cappabianca had the privilege to talk with Ohio State head football coach Urban Myer, “I got a phone call from him which was pretty cool. It was pretty exciting.”
But despite his commitment to play football in college, Cappabianca also enjoys playing the sport of basketball. He didn’t want to forgo playing basketball after accepting his football opportunity.
“I love the sport of basketball. I like playing with my team. That’s why I really stayed and played basketball. We’ve been playing together since the fifth grade, and I couldn’t just leave them out in the dust like that,” Cappabianca remarked.
“He’s going to be our only four-year letter winner here,” Daltorio explained of Cappabianca’s commitment to the Devils basketball program. “He played as a freshman, and because of the way he plays (he sees action). Skill wise, he will never be where we want him to be. But from an engine standpoint, and his physical skill set, it just set him apart. There are not many guys like that, with an engine like that. He’s fun to be around when he starts going.”
“When screens are coming from him, or when Kade (Hilles) is attracting the eyes, Jack’s always around to not only score but to get those second-chance points, to get the tip outs, to get the ball to him (Hilles). Those two with their size and Kade’s length, they pose a lot of problems,” Daltorio said.
Cappabianca is just now getting back to 100% healthy as he has been nursing a high ankle sprain since midway through the football season. But Daltorio explained that he is now able to go day-to-day without any treatments on the ankle. The combination of a healthy Cappabianca, along with him getting into basketball shape, rather than football condition, spells optimism for coach Daltorio.
One goal that Cappabianca has on his radar for the remainder of the season is to set the Devils rebounding mark, “My personal goal is to break the rebounding record here. I’m just shy, I think I may need 100 more, maybe a little more.”
With Cappabianca turning the corner health-wise, along with his fun and entertaining personality, the Devils have a lot going for them in the second half of this basketball season. Sometimes it’s good to have that goofball on your team.