January 8, 2013

Copeland on Duke's radar

Isaac Copeland isn't the prototype wing forward on the collegiate level. Most observers would take one look at the 6-foot-9 junior at The Miller School in Crozet, Va., and slap the slender power forward label on him without thinking twice.

But that's not Copeland. Originally from Raleigh, N.C., Copeland is a guy who plays the three for his high school team and he's a prospect who will be recruited as such if schools want a chance at signing the high major prospect.

"I just think I am more comfortable doing that," he told Devils Illustrated in regards to playing the three. "I just think I can benefit my team more when I can play out on the wing."

Watching Copeland in action, one can see a guy that has a smooth floor game. As he runs through ball-handling drills, navigating placed chairs and making quick moves to the basket, it's pretty apparent that he's very comfortable slashing to the basket. He pulls up high to shoot his soft jumpers over outstretched arms. And the 17-year-old has a beautiful high-release on his pull-up, which makes it very hard to block. His 7-foot wingspan doesn't hurt either.

It's that outside comfort coupled with the length and athleticism that makes him a matchup problem on this level and likely on the next as well.

"I would say I'm very versatile," he said when asked to describe his game. "I play the three or out on the wing. I can also get down on the inside and I am very active on the offensive boards, but most of all, I just try to be a good teammate."

His teammates, who Devils Illustrated spoke to independently, also compliment his motor and his consistent commitment to bringing an energetic presence for the entire game.

"Yeah, I feel like even if I am playing awful or when my shots aren't falling, I can play with energy because it really helps my team," he said.

As one could imagine, the skinny and versatile junior is getting a plethora of recruiting attention. NC State, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia and Virginia Tech are recruiting him and Florida State and Georgetown are two of the schools that have been very consistent with him. Louisville is another program that stays in contact with him and Duke has been in touch as well.

"I talk to Nate James a couple of times a month," said Copeland. "Mostly, though, my dad talks to him. (Nate James) tells me about things that they see on tape and what to work on. It was pretty exciting when Duke first contacted me because I didn't really see them watch me too much over the summer, but it's a big accomplishment. It was kind of unexpected and I am glad that they are looking at me though and I'm going to just keep working hard."

Stay tuned to Devils Illustrated for the latest news on Duke basketball recruits in the class of 2013, 2014 and 2015.


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