Coming into the season, Jim Boeheim lauded Syracuse’s six-man recruiting class of 2022 as “the best he’s ever had”. One of them, Peter Carey, is out for season after a knee injury. The other four, for better or for worse, have been consistent figures in Boeheim’s rotation over the past few games. The sixth member of this group is Quadir Copeland who, despite being healthy to our knowledge, hasn’t seen the court since the Virginia game (and even then got a whole one minute). That is inexplicable.
For a team that lacks consistent energy like SU, you would think a player like Copeland would be pirate’s treasure for Boeheim. Every single time he’s gotten game action, the Southwest Philly native has shown consistent hustle, which somehow has been a missing ingredient for the Orange. Even when he’s not on the court, Copeland is bouncing up and down every time one of his teammates makes something good happen. We even saw him running up and down the sideline at an SU Women’s Hoops game (best basketball team on the hill?) a few weeks ago. If he’s that passionate in non-game action, imagine what spark he could provide on the court.
Oh, that’s right, we have seen it. Almost a month ago, Syracuse trailed Pittsburgh by 20 midway through the second half and was essentially a dead team walking. Sure, Joe Girard’s shooting helped, but Copeland is the reason the Orange got even close to striking distance let alone had an opportunity to win it late. A pair of blocks, 10 points over 13 minutes, 2 offensive rebounds on the same possession, and a 4-point play. What isn’t to love about those stats? Yet the only significant action he’s seen since then was 7 minutes against Boston College. Copeland was absent in SU’s one-point win over a 2-12 Louisville team as well as Monday night when Boeheim’s bunch got lazy down the stretch. Are those outcomes different if Copeland plays?
Those stats from the Pittsburgh game also show Copeland being active in ways that others on the team simply are not. What wouldn’t Boeheim give to see Chris Bell get consecutive offensive rebounds? Or Benny Williams get a shot at a 4-point play? We’re not calling for Copeland to turn into an offensive powerhouse or spot-up shooter, all we’re asking for is a chance.
If there’s one phrase to describe Copeland, it’s energizer bunny. We’re well aware Boeheim is stubborn with his rotations, particularly when it comes to freshmen. That cannot be the case here. Coach, we beg of you, please start giving Quadir Copeland the moments he deserves. This team needs it.