Dec 26, 2012
After Charlottesville, Va., Miller School’s first appearance in the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational a year ago, Mavericks’ head coach Scott Willard said his team is ready to improve on 2011’s sixth-place finish this week.
“We wanted to get off campus and compete against some of the best,” said Willard, whose team plays in prestigious tournaments throughout the country. “If you look at our schedule, you’ll see we’ll play anyone, anywhere. The competition is great in Raleigh.”
Willard said his team relished last year’s inaugural appearance in the HSOT and there were several reasons they accepted a berth into this year’s tourney.
“The competition was great and I loved the environment,” Willard said. “It’s a very well put-together event. Our ability to reach out into the Carolinas and get some of those kids to look into coming to Virginia is also very important.”
The Mavericks feature a Triangle talent in silky smooth 6-8, 189-pound junior power forward Isaac Copeland, who transferred to Miller School from Raleigh Ravenscroft in the offseason. He has already received scholarship offers from N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgetown, among many others. He’s also being recruited by UNC.
“It’s fun to be able to bring him home and let him play in front of his friends and family,” Willard said of Copeland. “That’s very important to us. He’s fit in great with us; he’s a team-first player and you don’t always get that from high-major guys. He’s a high-character student-athlete who is doing fantastic in the classroom.
“He’s really bought in to the program. He’s put on a lot of muscle and he’s fit into our system seamlessly.”
Copeland is joined in the Mavericks’ huge frontcourt by 6-10 center Tony Washington, a Greenville, S.C., native who Willard said has an offer from Auburn, among others.
“Tony is a true impact center,” Willard said.
Aram Martin, a 6-9 senior cerebral forward, completes the Mavericks’ frontcourt; Willard said the sharpshooting Martin, a San Antonio native, is an outstanding student-athlete with a 4.4 GPA who is drawing interest from Ivy League schools.
Another Miller player to watch this week is 6-3 senior shooting guard Travis Hester, who has offers from Gardner-Webb and Manhattan.
The Mavericks will be a part of one of the best first-round matchups this week when they face High Point Christian. Willard said his team has played five of the top 10 post-grad teams in the country before this week’s HSOT.
“We believe we can compete with anyone,” Willard said. “What will be our challenge is what we succumbed to last year: we didn’t have a practice before we came down there. We really played poorly the first game and got beat (against High Point Wesleyan). Our challenge this year is to come in a little more focused so we give the best effort.”
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