NORMAL — Junior college transfer guard Zach Copeland will miss the upcoming season after failing to meet NCAA transfer academic requirements, Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller announced Friday.

“While I am very disappointed for Zach, this was not due to any lack of effort or desire to meet the NCAA standards,” head coach Dan Muller said. “Zach just ran into a class that was very tough for him. He is a great kid, and we are going to continue to support him going forward.

"As far as the team is concerned, this just opens up great opportunities to guys on the roster, all of whom are ready and excited for the challenge.”

Copeland is an Oakland, Calif., native who averaged 18.7 points per game as a sophomore at City College of San Francisco last season.

Copeland was a prolific 3-point shooter a year ago, sinking 103 of 216 attempts for 47.7 percent. He shot 49.1 percent from the field overall and averaged 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals.

He was the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Co-Player of the Year. Copeland was being counted on to help offset the loss of two of ISU’s top 3-point shooters from last season, Paris Lee and Deontae Hawkins.

At the time of his signing, Muller called him “a big-time offensive player who is a threat at all times on the court. He is a lights-out shooter, a terrific finisher and will only get better.”

Copeland had 12 games of 30 points or more last season with a high of 36.

His five-year NCAA clock (to play four) began with the 2015-16 season, so he would still have two years of eligibility starting next season should he get his academics squared away.

The loss of Copeland leaves six available guards on the Redbird roster for this season: juniors Keyshawn Evans and William Tinsley; sophomores Madison Williams and Matt Hein; and freshmen Elijah Clarance and Isaac Gassman.

Follow Randy Kindred on Twitter: @pg_kindred

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Sports Editor

Sports Editor for The Pantagraph.

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