Tyler Byrum, staff writer
Former Mason men’s basketball star, Erik Copes, was chosen as the #1 overall pick in the 2015 National Basketball League of Canada draft. Copes was selected to play for the Niagara River Lions, who are entering their inaugural season in the league. Copes’s most recent position was with the Patriots, whom he played for for three consecutive seasons before leaving for personal reasons during the team’s 2013-14 season.
Copes started in 48 games during his Mason career and ranks fourth in Mason’s all-time blocking history with 122 blocks, 51 of which were scored in his freshman year.
Copes was ranked 55th overall and sixth at the center position by ESPN.com when he began his Mason career in 2011. At that time, he was the highest-ranked incoming freshman in Mason’s program history, giving a huge boost the Patriots’ faith. After showing promise his freshman season, however, Copes never rose to the level many Mason fans hoped he would.
During his time at Mason, Copes faced two suspensions — one in 2012 for three games and another in 2013 for six games.
Copes will be the first of players in his graduating class to play professionally. The Niagara River Lions will play in the Central Division of the NBL of Canada this upcoming season. The NBL formed in 2011 with seven teams, and this season, there will be nine teams competing.