Chris Copeland(New York Knicks) Everybody Talks About My Scoring, But My Passing gets Underestimated

Christopher Copeland is a 28 year old 203 cm power forward from Orange, New Jersey that recently signed a contract with the NBA New York Knicks. He went to the University of Colorado from 2002-2006. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 44%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 68.8%. In his first season overseas, he played for Beirasar Rosalia (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five), only pre-season, then moved to C.B. L’Hospitalet (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five) playing 4 games averaging 4.0ppg, 8.0rpg and then moved to Matrixx Magix Nijmegen (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five) playing 28 games and averaging 18.0ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 40.3%, FT: 2008-2009 season, he moved to Germany to TBB Trier playing 34 games averaging 13.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 74.8%. In 2009-2010, he continued to play for TBB Trier playing 33 games: Score-2(16.8ppg), 4.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 76.0%.In 2010-2011, he played for  for Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium) he played 36 games: 14.6ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 73.8%. Last season for Generali Okapi Aalstar, he played Belgian League: 33 games: Score-1(21.8ppg), 5.5rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT-2(44.7%), FT: 79.1%; EuroChallenge: 11 games: Score-2(20.1ppg), 4.0rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 79.2%. This summer, he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (New York Knicks): 5 games: 13.8ppg, 4.0rpg He spoke to German Hoops about his season in Belgium and his time with TBB Trier this summer before he signed an NBA contract with the New York Knicks.

You recently played your second season in Belgium. How quickly has time flown by since your days with TBB Trier?

Time has been flying so I must be getting older. I had a great time in Belgium.

You have played two seasons with Generali Okapi Aalstar and have a contract for next season. Did you get tips from ex teammate James Gillingham about staying with one team for a longer time?

He was a great leader and friend when I was with TBB Trier. We haven´t talked in a while, but he used to always give me advice about things.

You wanted to come to the TBB Trier-Fraport Skyliners game, but you were held up in Belgium?

Yes I was in Belgium. I had been planning to come to that game for a while and see Jamal Shuler, but we lost an ugly game on the weekend and had to practice Sunday. I would loved to have come, but that comes with the job.

You live in Aalsz Belgium which is smaller than Trier. How did you like living there?

The people were great there and its more quiet which is my speed. It was a great situation. Trier was bigger and I loved the people there also. I already enjoyed going to the Petrisberg in Trier. I loved the fans in Trier.

You won the Belgium cup this year against the Antwerpen Giants. What kind of a feeling was it winning your first title in Europe?

Winning was very amazing. It was so more special the way we won. We had to claw back and fight back and win in OT. It is always so much more special when you can win like that especially in a big game.

You had a big 24-10 fourth quarter to bring the game to OT. What was key for getting the win?

Defense, defense, defense. We had to get stops and started hitting our shots. We took the game into OT and took over from there.

Have you ever seen a better Kevin Kruger who was named MVP with 31 points?

I have seen Kevin have many great nights this season. He was very important in our comeback and showed how great a point guard he is by controlling the tempo having a bigger lineup. He kept us in line and is just a great point guard.

You have played against 2008 Beko BBL scoring champion Tim Black. What do you like most about his game?

He is an intelligent player with a high basketball IQ. He is a very good decision maker and takes good shots. He makes his team better and it is hard to defend him. You never know what he will do.

What was it like playing in a 9 team league instead of an 18 team league like in Germany?

With less teams, you play the teams more and become more familiar with the teams. It becomes more challenging when you see the same guys so often. Scouting becomes so much more important.

You have always been a scorer, but this season you led the Belgium league in scoring. Did something change in your role compared to last season?

I had a much bigger role this season. We lost many talented guys so I had to step it up a bit.

What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?

Everybody talks about my scoring, but my passing gets underestimated.

What can you still improve on your game?

I can still improve my defense. My one on one is solid, but my off ball defense can get better.

Your teammate was Jorn Steinbach who is a Belgium national player. Can he make the next step to another country or will he always play in Belgium?

He can play anywhere. He is very talented and smart. I am looking forward to the next years to see where he will play and how he will develop.

What has been the most amazing thing that you have seen Kevin Kruger do in a practice?

He is very good and making half court shots.

Who is the best player that you have faced in Belgium?

Mike Haynes who used to play in Germany. He is very athletic and just an all around good player.

What are the biggest differences to Belgium and the Beko BBL?

I think that they are pretty much similar, but there are 9 teams more in Germany. The Beko BBL is taller. There are more bigs in the Beko BBL.

Do you still have contact to ex TBB Trier players?

I have contact to many, but mostly to Derek Raivio and Jamal Shuler.

What else do you miss from Trier besides the Petrisberg?

I hung out there very much, but if I wasn´t there, I was playing video games with George Evans, Jamal Shuler and Derek Raivio.

You had a 2-2 record against Frankfurt. What player do you remember most? Maybe Quantez Robertson?

Tez was very exciting and was all over the court, but I remember Derrick Allen the most. He was always the guy that I matched up against.

Maik Zirbes could land in the NBA someday. Did you already sense some years back that he had potential?

Yes I did. Maik has some natural abilities that not many have. He is a very hard worker and sky is the limit for him.

What was the perfect Derek Raivio to Chris Copeland pass?

That is hard, because he made so many great passes. He gave me ally-op passes or long passes that hit me in the chest.

What were the most free throws that you made in a row in practice?

At Colorado(NCAA), I once made a little less than 100. Josh Levin was my rebounder.

What was your most crazy shot in your basketball career?

In the corner way out of bounds shot from behind the basket.

With what players would you like to play together with?

With Jamal Shuler and Derek Raivio again?

If you had to chose between Nate Fox and Chris Young to play a one on one game with, who would you chose?

Neither. It would be a punishment to have to play against one of them. They are so hard to defend, because they are so big.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

Inglourious Basterds.

Thanks Chris for the chat.

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