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Nebraska adds talented transfer in Isaac Copeland

Cornhuskers pick up former five-star recruit.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It came in roundabout fashion, but Nebraska added the highest-ranked prospect in the history of the program on Monday.

Isaac Copeland will transfer to Nebraska after spending more than two years at Georgetown, as first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports.

Copeland made the decision several days after visiting Lincoln for Thursday’s 93-90 double-overtime win over Iowa. His only other visit was to North Carolina State, which is in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward had an up-and-down career at Georgetown after entering college as a highly-regarded prospect. A five-star recruit out of Brewster Academy (NH), Copeland was ranked the 16th-best player in the Class of 2014 by ESPN.

Copeland, who has two years of eligibility remaining, won’t be eligible to play the rest of this season or the first semester next year due to NCAA transfer rules.

However, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Nebraska will seek a medical hardship waiver that would make Copeland eligible to play at the start of the 2017-18 season. Copeland is expected to undergo surgery on his back, which played a part in his reduced playing time at Georgetown.

Copeland averaged 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season, making five starts and playing in seven games before announcing his transfer from Georgetown in mid-December.

Copeland’s most productive game of the season came against a Big Ten team, as he had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes of action in a 76-65 loss to Maryland on Nov. 15. He scored in double figures in each of Georgetown’s first three games before dealing with injuries and falling out of favor.

He has the ability to play inside and out, but was 0-for-10 from behind the arc this season after making 55 3-pointers during his first two years at Georgetown.

Copeland got off to a fast start at Georgetown, playing in all 33 games as a freshman and being named to the All-Big East Rookie Team after averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

He scored in double figures in 20 of 33 games as a sophomore, including scoring a career-high 32 points in an 88-87 win at Marquette in March. Copeland played 32.0 minutes per game last season, collecting 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Copeland spoke with the Omaha World-Herald about some of the built-in relationships he has in Lincoln, including with current Nebraska assistant coach Kenya Hunter, who helped recruit Copeland to Georgetown.

“We’ve had a relationship since way back when I was in high school,” Copeland told the Omaha World-Herald on Monday. “When coach Hunter knew I was leaving, he was one of the first people to call my parents.”

Copeland also discussed his relationship with future teammate Anton Gill, who transferred to Nebraska from Louisville.

“We played in high school together,” Copeland said. “And our dads played in college together at East Carolina.”

Nebraska, which is 9-7 overall, including 3-1 in Big Ten play, is coming off a 74-66 loss to Northwestern on Sunday.

Copeland’s scoring available will be welcome next season, as Nebraska’s leading scorer Tai Webster (17.7 ppg) will be gone after this year. With Webster as the lone Nebraska senior, the Cornhuskers are looking to grow into a consistent Big Ten contender, and Copeland has enough talent to help them get there.