Syracuse Basketball: Quadir Copeland, vastly underrated, a ‘Cuse X-factor

Syracuse basketball, Quadir Copeland (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Quadir Copeland (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

Sophomore guards Judah Mintz and J.J. Starling are getting much of the preseason attention from national media outlets, and understandably so, but the Syracuse basketball backcourt’s depth and talent extends way beyond those two stars, and a guy to monitor in the upcoming season is sophomore guard/wing Quadir Copeland.

On Friday night, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Copeland from Philadelphia stole the show at SU’s Orange Tip-Off event. When the men’s team conducted a scrimmage, he paced all scorers, with 11 points, according to

Quadir Copeland displayed his versatility at Orange Tip-Off, according to media reports. He has improved his long-range stroke, his head coach has said, he gets after it on the defensive end, he facilitates well for others, he’s a high-energy player, and he’s not shy about driving the lane against taller defenders.

In the 2023-24 season, which gets underway in early November for Syracuse basketball, Mintz and Starling are the expected starters in the backcourt. But the team’s guard group is filled with athleticism, depth and versatility.

To that end, numerous other guards will likely earn a decent amount of run in the rotation of first-year head coach Adrian Autry, and I envision Copeland in that fold. On a personal note, I just find Quadir to be an engaging, lovable young man.

Sophomore Quadir Copeland is an X-factor for Syracuse basketball in 2023-24.

Even last season, when the Orange went 17-15 overall and he didn’t play all that much, Copeland always seemed to have a smile on his face. Seemingly all the time, whether he was on the court or not, Quadir Copeland was cheering on his teammates and remaining upbeat. That kind of positivity, to me, is infectious.

In 2022-23, Copeland appeared in 20 games, averaging 9.2 minutes, 2.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest. He struggled with his shooting percentages from the field as a whole, and from beyond the arc. However, toward the end of 2022-23, there were some encounters in which Copeland saw his minutes rise.

Autry, in his press conference on media day last Friday, said that Copeland has worked really hard on his jump shot, and the ‘Cuse head coach is seeing a marked improvement there. Given his height, length and strength, Copeland is an athletic, versatile guard/wing.

He can suit up at point guard and on the wing as a small forward. What’s more, if his perimeter shot is in fact looking good, that could enable Copeland to also see some time at shooting guard.

As a member of the Syracuse basketball six-member 2022 class, Copeland was rated as four stars and hovered around the top 100 nationally, according to some recruiting services.

He chose the ‘Cuse over other finalists Maryland, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Miami, Penn State, DePaul and La Salle.

In high school, he started out at Gettysburg Area High School in Gettysburg, Pa., where he was a prolific scorer early on in his hoops tenure. He then moved to the Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., before spending his final year competing alongside fellow sophomore guard/wing Justin Taylor for the post-grad squad at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

I’m high on Quadir Copeland as an X-factor and perhaps a “glue guy” for Syracuse basketball in 2023-24. He’s part of a stacked backcourt that I can’t wait to check out as official games commence in the near future.

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