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Player Profiles: Isaac Copeland

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This week, St. Patrick and Run DSR are bringing you all their hot takes on this season’s Hoyas. Did you know that Dwight Eisenhower’s grandson David — for whom Camp David was named — went on to marry Richard Nixon’s daughter Julie in 1968, and their wedding inspired CCR’s “Fortunate Son?” I did not, at least until today. Up today: Isaac Copeland

NAME: Isaac Copeland

YEAR: Junior

POSITION: Forward HEIGHT: 6-foot-9

WEIGHT: 220 lbs

WHAT WE KNOW

“Frustratingly talented” isn’t a combination of words you see together too often, but it’s all too accurate for Isaac Copeland. He can get down the court as fast as anyone. He can jump out of the gym. He’s tall, and recently, he looks strong. He’s got a pretty shot. He should dominate! Why isn’t he dominating? Do we not know how to train players? What is going on ov

*deep breaths*

OK, so It’s possible we jacked up expectations a little too high coming into Copeland’s sophomore campaign. But who wouldn’t? Apart from a streaky-but-fundamentally-sound jumper and a tendency to space out on defense on occasion, there appeared to be no obstacles in between Copeland and a Porter-esque sophomore leap to stardom. Obviously that did not happen, or we’d be tuning in to watch him in the NBA this year. So what’s the deal?

Simply put, Copeland just hasn’t been able to put it together. He’s had flashes of absolute brilliance in both regular-season and Kenner League play. But it’s become apparent at this point that the “takeover” button doesn’t exist there, and it’s possible that any takeover tools aren’t developed enough to employ for more than a few minutes at a time. He doesn’t have a reliable go-to move, scoring most effectively in the open court and off broken plays. And while it should be noted that we’re grading on a curve here — Copeland is one of the more valuable players on the team — the fact remains that his talent outweighs his contribution so far.

WHAT WE EXPECT

Copeland probably has among the most stable projected minute allocations of any Hoya this year. While defensive lapses might put him on the bench in some games, I believe his athleticism, knowledge of the offense and ability to hit a three-point shot will earn him significant floor time every night — whether he starts or not. If Georgetown actually does run the floor this year (drink!), Isaac could be a menace in the open court and on the wings. It’s an unfair comparison, but I think it’s not a huge stretch to imagine Copeland playing a “garbage man” role similar to Shawn Marion did for the mid-2000s Suns. He seems too talented for that role with regard to the rest of this team, but it’s striking in Kenner how involved and effective he was at cleanup duty. If he wants to do more than that, it would serve him well to have more moves in the halfcourt than a running floater and a midrange jumper.

With the addition of Rodney Pryor to an already-uncertain situation, it seems more and more likely that Copeland will take a backseat in the halfcourt offense. But don’t be surprised if you see him on the highlight reels more than anyone else this season, or if he simply, finally puts everything together. Defensively, he has made strides, but someone with his athleticism could be an elite defender if he learned to avoid the mental errors that plagued his freshman (and some of his sophomore) campaign. One thing we might see more often this year is Copeland guarding legitimate big men in the post. It looked at Kenner League like he’d put muscle on, and I believe JTIII likes him better at the 4 than the 3.

If Copeland’s shot is falling this year, if he’s polished his overall offensive game, if he knows the defensive rotations by heart, if he keeps up the rebounding, if he wants to be “the guy,” he could be one of the most dangerous players we’ve had in awhile. The question, as always, is “if.”