The Versatile Booker Coplin(ART Giants Duesseldorf) Wants To Get To The Point Where He Is As Good Defensively As He Is Offensively

Booker Coplin (191-G-97, college: Augsburg) is a 24 year old 191cm guard from Shakopee, Minnesota playing his rookie season in Germany with ART Giants Duesseldorf. He began his basketball career with Shakopee, MN / Shakopee High School and then played his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls (NCAA3) playing 28 games averaging 3.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.1apg. he then played at Augsburg College (NCAA3) from 2017-2020 playing atotal of 83 games averaging 13.2ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 85.3% as a sophomore and 28.0ppg, 9.4rpg, 3.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 89.7% as a junior and as a senior averaged 23.7ppg, 8.5rpg, 3.8apg, 1.6spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 85.5%. He spoke to about basketball.

Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

The experience in Duesseldorf Germany has been great so far I’m really enjoying traveling the world, discovering a new culture, and getting to know a different style of basketball all at the same time. Starting my professional career in Europe has also brought on a set of challenges that I learn from each and every day. I had no idea what to expect specifically, but I knew I would love the experience, and that’s exactly how it’s been.

You are the laundry man. In school you liked to wash uniforms. I guess you never had problems keeping your own uniform clean?

At my University I was able to have an on-campus job doing the laundry for all men’s sports in order to make some money while taking classes to help pay for school. I didn’t mess up the uniforms too many times!

With everything that you have experienced off the court with Covid how do you feel did you grow as a man?

The whole pandemic has been quite a life-changing experience. Especially in the United States it has exposed a lot about what people are truly like. Have you seen the Netflix show ‘Don’t Look Up’ ? It really is quite humorous and relatively accurate on the state of things. I always thought growing up into adulthood meant maturing and knowing everything about life but it turns out some adults still have no clue.

Your playing your first professional season in Germany with ART Giants Duesseldorf. How much of a blessing has it been for you being able to play the game that you love coming from NCAA 3 where very little guys make it overseas?

I am fortunate to have an opportunity to prove that D3 guys can play at a high-level. I still feel like I have so much that I am capable of and have yet to accomplish.

The club had a slow start but as of late are playing very good basketball. Is this team a lot better than what it’s record implies?

We have known that this team had potential to be great, and unfortunately our record early on did not show that because we weren’t able to finish many games that could’ve been ours. We remained focused and were determined to continue improving until things started to go our way. We are good enough to really make some noise in this league and I’m very excited for the homestretch and playoffs to see what we’re really made of.

What kind of an experience has it been playing for German coach Florian Flabb. How have you grown accustomed to his style best and how has he helped you best?

Coach and I are both in our first years in the new role and have done well learning together and growing together. He has helped me with adjusting my skills and strengths to find the most success on the floor specifically when making reads, knowing when to attack, and when to be patient.

How vital has experienced teammate Andrius Mikutis been in your rookie season and development? Has he been like a mentor for you?

Miku has been so important in my first year as a pro overseas. He has helped me with my transition to everything new that Europe offers, and just finding my way with these adjustments. He is absolutely a mentor for me and I’ve already learned so much from him. I think it would be great to one day play for him if he decides to be a coach!

You’re a guy that can really fill the stat sheet. Is versatility your biggest strength?

I like to think that versatility has always been my biggest strength throughout my basketball career, and I really take a lot of pride in being able to do a lot of things on the floor. I love having the confidence that if one part of my game is struggling I’m still able to affect the game in many ways.

What other strengths does your game have that maybe doesn’t always be seen on the stat sheet?

I believe that I am a smart player, and pick up on new strategies quickly both offensively and defensively. This year I have seen unique sets and coverages I have never played before, and I really have been trying my best to learn and adapfast.

Augsburg head coach Aaron Griess said that you have great discipline and always have a plan. Is that something that ran in the family?

My family has helped me get to where I am today in so many ways and always having a plan is definitely a lesson I learned from them. We love to compete at anything and everything and never do things half-minded. So when you want to do something, you go at it passionately but also intelligently with a plan, and that allows you to have confidence to do anything you put your mind to.

You twice made the MIAC all defensive team. What kind of defender do you want to be at the pro level?

I want to get to the point where I am as good defensively as I am offensively. I have much to learn and much to improve on, but I know that the better defender you are the better chances you are having success both individually and as a team. I love to compete and I love to win and that means always improving everything about your game.

On what areas of your game are you working on most so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?

I’m always trying to work on my weaknesses and right now that includes making my left hand stronger and always improving my decision making skills within the reads and sets I’ve been learning since being here. I want to be not only a great creator but an efficient creator at that, and make plays for my team.

Your tearing up the Pro B. Have you seen any Pro A games? How confident are you that you could be successful at higher levels?

I have seen a few games and I know that it will bring on a new set of challenges, and I know I will have to continue to work to prove I can play at that level. I have the confidence to believe in myself and people around me that believe in me and I’m just hopeful for further opportunities.

You had an incredible career at Augsburg (NCAA3). Was winning the MIAC title your biggest achievement on the court?

So far in my career that was definitely my biggest achievement and one of the best feelings I’ve had with a team.

How did head coach Aaron Griess groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach Griess runs his program at such a high level that all his players become experienced in professional ways. The time he puts in to prepare us mentally before any skills are involved is parallel to top D1 programs. The focus we had on scouting reports and film time, the sets, the defensive schemes changing week to week based on opponents all are examples of how daily I was preparing to be a pro basketball player. Frequently I flash back to tips or phrases that coach taught and would say over and over that still help me. Little did I know we were building habits that would evolve into my professional game. People really underestimate the intensity of the Division III level.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Booker Coplin in Rhondorf, Germany in 2022

Who won a one on one you or Henry Mulligan?

Henry and I played lots of one on one in the off-season so to answer your question yes Henry won a game once in a while.

Who was the best player you ever played against at any level that reached the NBA?

Growing up in Minnesota I’ve played against so many hoopers that are playing at very high level whether that is D1, NBA, or even plenty of overseas guys right now. During the summer I’m fortunate enough to workout with Tyus’ Jones older brother Jadee on a weekly basis. That has led to getting to run with Tre and Tyus and some other former/current pro guys from MN every once in awhile. The Twin Cities Pro am in the summer is my favorite because it brings together a huge group of guys from Minnesota and allows locals to come watch all the best from the area.

Thanks Booker for the chat.

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