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The top boys’ basketball prospect in the YAIAA won’t finish his high school career in Pennsylvania.
Gettysburg star Quadir Copeland announced on Twitter Wednesday night that he will transfer to Life Center Academy in Burlington, New Jersey. A rising senior, Copeland will reclassify in the Class of 2022 and play two seasons of prep school basketball before entering college.
The 6-foot-6 point guard has six Division I offers. They are from LaSalle, Siena, Penn State, Oregon, Miami and Maryland.
His transfer does not come as a shock. After receiving his offer from Penn State at the beginning of July, he told GameTimePA that he was considering transferring to a prep school and reclassifying as a junior.
Copeland is young for his grade and won’t turn 17 until September. In a phone interview Thursday, Copeland said his youth and still-growing recruitment were big reasons for his decision.
“Being 16 years old heading into my senior season isn’t a good look for many college programs,” Copeland said. “I’ll always have love for Gettysburg. It’s always going to be a chapter in my story, but it was time to move on. I did as much as I could there.”
Transferring will give Copeland an extra year to make a college decision. Most top collegiate prospects verbally commit to a school before their senior season, but Copeland’s recruitment has been rapidly growing this summer. He picked up the offers from Penn State, Oregon, Miami and Maryland since the beginning of July.
In July, Gettysburg basketball coach Lawrence Williams said that Copeland could always graduate at Gettysburg and attend a prep school for one year prior to college. That path is fairly common for prospects.
But he also said he would support Copeland’s decision no matter what.
Copeland said Thursday he didn’t want to stay at Gettysburg and then attend a prep school because players aren’t allowed to play AAU basketball after high school graduation. He’s already missed all of this AAU season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and could get more exposure to college coaches next summer. Copeland plays AAU for the Philadelphia-based Team Final in Nike’s EYBL league.
He said he’ll be receiving a scholarship from Life Center Academy. Current Los Angeles Laker and former Syracuse star and No. 4 overall pick Dion Waiters played for the prep school.
A native of Philadelphia, Copeland transferred to Gettysburg in eighth grade. He said he’ll be living with his father in Philadelphia while he goes to school in New Jersey.
“They have a great past, and they’ve wanted me to come there since day one,” Copeland said of LCA. “They play a national schedule, and I get to play the position (point guard) that I have always wanted to play.”
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Gettysburg’s Quadir Copeland hangs from the rim after dunking the ball during a semifinal game against Lancaster Mennonite in the GWABC Tip-Off Tournament in Gettysburg Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Copeland lead the team with 22 points and was 2-2 from the line as the Warriors won, 63-51. (Photo: Dan Rainville, The Evening Sun)
Copeland is coming off a monster season in which he averaged 22.1 points, 11 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while leading the Warriors to an undefeated regular season. Gettysburg finished 23-5 after going 1-5 in the postseason.
Copeland came six points away from setting Gettysburg’s school record for most points in a season. He scored 969 points in three varsity seasons for Gettysburg.
He was named first-team all-state in Class 5A and the Most Promising Underclassman by Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball.
He’s ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the state of Pennsylvania by 247Sports.
“He has a dynamic ability and skill set for a 6-foot-6 kid that sets him apart,” Williams said in July. “He has tremendous upside. He’s continuing to learn the game and I don’t think he’s reached his peak yet.”
Copeland said he told Williams and his Gettysburg teammates about his decision before he made it public on Wednesday. He said he thanked all of them and that the team was supportive of his decision.
“They understand why I’m making the decision, and they’ve all got my back,” Copeland said. “Coach Williams said he has nothing but love for me.
“Gettysburg taught me to stay humble no matter how good you are. And that it’s important to have a good support system and the right people around you. Gettysburg is a small town and it can be quiet, but quiet isn’t a bad thing.”
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.
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