DUNK

THROW IT DOWN — Gettysburg’s Quadir Copeland prepares to dunk the ball during the Feb. 17 District 3 Class 5A playoff game against visiting Hershey. Copeland led all scorers with 31 points in the Warriors’ 76-65 victory.

Quadir Copeland had no ill will toward his competitors, but he felt he deserved to be a bigger part of the conversation when YAIAA postseason awards were released.

On Friday, the Gettysburg junior received some validation. Copeland was the only player in the YAIAA conference to make any of the Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class 5A All-State team. Leaving little to doubt, the 6-foot, 5-inch multi-faceted player earned first-team honors.

“To be honest, I thought I’d be second team. I didn’t expect first team,” Copeland said. “When you see all the other players, the big names and the colleges they’re going to, I’m really happy to be on that list.”

In the league’s postseason awards, Eastern York’s Trevor Sites was named by coaches as the YAIAA-2 Player of the Year and a GameTimePA.com poll selected New Oxford’s Abdul Janneh for its YAIAA Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.

Gettysburg Head Coach Lawrence Williams offered Copeland’s statistics — 22.1 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game while shooting 61% from the field — plus Gettysburg’s 22-0 regular-season record as evidence to be considered against other qualified athletes. The Warriors finished 23-5 and took eighth place in the District 3 Class 5A tournament to qualify for the PIAA tournament.

Though their season didn’t end the way he hoped, Copeland noted the Warriors went 3-0 against Eastern York and New Oxford.

Then there’s the attention Copeland has received from Division I colleges. LaSalle has presented a verbal offer, he said. Others, such as Penn State, Maryland, Temple, Penn, Oregon, Miami and Saint Joes have also been in contact, Copeland said.

Williams believes there’s good reason for that.

“He has great ability and court sense,” said Williams. “I don’t know if many people know, but the kid just turned 16 during the season. He’s a young junior with tremendous talent, and he’s still growing. It’s crazy what he’s capable of night in and night out. It’s special to watch.”

Copeland grew up in Philadelphia mimicking the moves of his older brother, Daiquan Copeland, who now plays in the National Junior College Athletic Association with Frank Phillips College, located in Borger, Texas.

“I learned all my moves from him, playing together in the gym,” said Copeland. “He kept me on top of my game. I wasn’t always the tallest, so I had to work at it.”

Quadir moved to Gettysburg in eighth grade. Entering high school a little over 6 feet tall, Quadir made the varsity squad his freshman year at Gettysburg and scored two points per game while in a reserve role. Last year he began to take steps forward and improved his average to roughly 12 points per game.

Entering his junior year, Quadir said he worked on his rebounding and found new ways to attack the basket. He said he also improved his range, but hoped to continue to do so in the coming offseason.

Copeland said his father, Antron Copeland, and uncle, Ron Harris, helped develop his game.

“They developed me into a basketball player,” he said. “They helped me knowing that I can’t just attack the basket all the time. I had to find different ways to score. I give a lot of props to them.”

Williams has been a mentor, Copeland said, especially since his move to Gettysburg. He hopes to reward the coach with an even better senior season, he said.

Copeland’s 615 points this year came only six shy of the school record for points in a single season, held by 1988 grad Jim Brooks. Duplicating that his senior year will make him the Warrior boys’ all-time leading scorer. He’s 538 shy of 1993 grad Darian Golden’s mark of 1,507.

Williams was impressed with Quadir’s maturity this season. With the graduation of Charles Warren and Zach Ketterman, Quadir will be the team’s most veteran player starter next year, needing only 31 points for 1,000 in his career.

“He can handle the basketball with the best of them. Every year he’s gotten better,” Williams said. “If he stays in the gym and stays hungry, we can do it. If there’s any negative, he needs to get hungrier on the defensive side and be ready to dominate the game on both ends of the floor. I believe he’ll be able to do that this year.”

As for next year’s all-star teams, Williams didn’t make any predictions but said Quadir would have plenty of motivation to prove people wrong.

“I don’t think that’ll be his objective, but he’ll be excited to prove a lot of people wrong, “Williams said. “We didn’t finish the goals we wanted to accomplish this year, so he has a lot of things he wants to prove to people.”

Times Correspondent Tom Sixeas contributed to this report

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