There’s a pretty fascinating interview over at Draft Express with Chris Copeland. Copeland is impressively candid about his road to the NBA, about how at times he though about giving up as he toiled away overseas, and about the effect that the right coaches finally had on his game that allowed him to develop as a player.
JT: You mentioned that things didn’t go very well for you initially in the D-League and Spain, but by the time you got to Belgium you were averaging over 20 points per game and you’re in the NBA now, so what changed with you over that time span?
CC: Honestly, I think my biggest transformation happened in Germany. I had really strong years out there, got top scorer of the year my second year, and the first year I was on pace to do that but I think I finished like second. But the coach I had in Germany was the first one to really like push me to be better every day. He was always hard on me and it was a big time growing experience for me. Coach Yves [Defraigne, now in Belfius Mons in Belgium] was a big time motivator for me and a big time change of pace, and I needed that.
The whole thing is worth your time, as it’s an interesting insight into an athlete’s mentality and what it takes to make it at the professional level. It’s also a pretty good reminder that even though professional sports is pretty much the best meritocracy we’ve got going, it’s often overlooked how much luck and circumstance plays into how an athlete’s career can turn out.
Nonetheless, You have to admire a guy like Copeland, who simply refused to give up on his dream when he had pretty much every chance to. Who knows what role he’ll continue to play as the season progresses, but what he’s accomplished already, is something that’s definitely worth praising.