By Julia Fuller (Guardsman)/Photo by Eric Sun
After a killer season and a spot in the Final Four State Championship, Zach Copeland happily settled down for the rest of the semester to focus on school.
Copeland was a key player in this year’s men’s basketball season. With over one hundred three pointers throughout 48 games he rose to a position of leadership on the team. At 19 years old, Copeland has become a person to look to for the team that had made it to the Final Four of the State Championship and narrowly lost out on a repeat trip to the finals by the dropping a thrilling game against San Diego with a final score of 79 to 77.
Copeland commends his teammates and praised them for their hard work.
“It was good for me personally because I developed leadership skills to help guide my team. They worked really hard and put the time in to be successful this season and that is awesome to see. Along with working with my coaches I really developed the skills as a leader and a player which I’ll take with me from here out,” Copeland said.
Born and raised in the Bay area Copeland grew up surrounded by sports, especially baseball which he grew up playing.
“I started playing sports when I was maybe 6 to 7 years old and in the fourth and fifth grade I really started to love the game baseball,” Copeland said.
He continued with it in high school at Berkeley and Salesian purely for the love of the game yet not many people approached him for his talent. Near the end of his high school career he picked up basketball again and junior colleges and universities started to noticed. Copeland began to get calls and recognition from recruiters for being a promising player and student.
In the end Copeland chose to attend City College and suit up for the Rams.
After attending the Jerry Mullen’s top 100 Juco Camp in the summer of 2016 in his Sophomore year, one school really stood out to him as he was finishing his time at City College. Illinois State has been diligently following Copeland communicating by phone and keeping up with him through his years at City College. Their persistence paid off and Copeland will be attending Illinois State this summer to pursue a physical therapy and medical career.
Copeland gets his inspiration from professionals like, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, all competitive and dedicated athletes that he strives to be like yet stand out as an individual.
Despite such a busy schedule between sports, school and work, Copeland effectively keeps everything in order and on top of things.
“Priorities, dedication, knowing when to say no to your homies because you have to focus on the important things,” Copeland said.
Currently Zach is feeling great about being recognized;
“It feels good, I always felt underrated in baseball, nobody wanted to recognize my talent, and it was always my main goal to get my name out in a sport to show how passionate I am about the game, basketball has really done that for me, and I can finally do something I love and really do well in it, said Copeland.”
He is also excited for the future and with the possibility of going professional, the opportunities are endless for this young athlete;
“I’m excited to just keep playing the sport I love, I would love to go professional but I am definitely going to graduate, it’s my main goal right now, then hopefully go pro, said Copeland.