Augsburg University men’s basketball junior guard Booker Coplin, a Shakopee graduate, capped his remarkable 2018-19 season by being named as the Division III National Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
It’s the first time that an Augsburg men’s basketball player has ever been selected as Division III National Player of the Year by the NABC.
It is also the first time a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player has been selected to receive the honor since the Division III award was established by the NABC in 1983.
Coplin will join Wisconsin-Oshkosh coach Matt Lewis, who was named NABC Division III National Coach of the Year, to receive their honors during the 2019 AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game awards show in Minneapolis on Sunday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center’s Main Auditorium. The event is held during the NABC Convention at the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four in the Twin Cities.
The NABC National Player of the Year award caps Coplin’s tremendous season, one of the best individual campaigns for an Auggie in school history. He was named to both major NCAA Division III All-America teams last week — a first-teamer by the NABC and a second-teamer by D3hoops.com. Last week, he was also named NABC Division III West District Player of the Year, as a first-team honoree to the NABC Coaches’ Division III All-West District Team, and as a first-team honoree to the D3hoops.com All-West Region team.
A biopsychology major with a 3.733 grade-point average, Coplin was also named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Division III Men’s Basketball Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, as a second-team honoree.
Coplin was named the MIAC’s Player of the Year — the seventh time an Auggie has received the men’s basketball conference honor — and was named to the All-MIAC first team, after receiving All-MIAC second-team honors last year. He earned MIAC Athlete of the Week honors four times this season, and was named to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week three times.
This season, he was the leader of an Augsburg men’s basketball squad that reached the MIAC playoff title game for the second season in a row — both times advancing to the final from the No. 4 seed. Augsburg finished 19-9 overall, 13-7 in MIAC play, reaching the conference playoffs for the fourth straight season and ninth time in the last 11 years.
As the MIAC’s scoring champion in 2018-19, Coplin set Augsburg single-season school records for both points (784) and points per-game (28.0), breaking the old marks of 770 points and 27.5 points per-game, set by George in the 1998-99 season. Coplin’s scoring and rebounding averages of 28.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per-game are the best combined totals for an Auggie since George’s 27.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per-game averages in 1998-99. He also set a new single-season record for three-pointers with 76, breaking the old mark of 75 set by Scott Syring ‘93 in the 1989-90 season.
He also put new marks in the school record-book in eight other top-10 single-season (since 1970) categories — second in rebounds (264) and free-throw percentage (.897), third in steals (61), fourth in field goals (276), field-goal attempts (530) and free throws (156), fifth in rebounds per-game (9.4), and seventh in free-throw attempts (174). His 93 assists are 16th-most in a single season in program history.
Coplin led the conference in both overall scoring (28.0 points per-game) and rebounding (9.4 per-game). His 61 steals led the MIAC in overall statistics, as did his 276 field goals, 156 free throws and 264 total rebounds. He finished second among MIAC players in three-pointers (76), fifth in assists (93) and sixth in blocked shots (27), playing in a league-high 36.1 minutes per-game. Among NCAA Division III players nationally (final statistics), Coplin finished second in both total points and points per-game, also ranking second in field goals made and third in field-goal attempts.
This season, Coplin scored in double figures in all 28 games, collecting 12 point-rebound double-doubles. He scored 20-plus points in 24 games and 30-plus points in 11 contests, including his last four games of the season where he scored 43, 33, 32 and a career-high 46 points. He also contributed one of the most dramatic shots in Augsburg history — a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to give Augsburg a 67-64 first-round playoff win over St. Olaf on Feb. 19.
As a transfer who played his first season at Wisconsin-River Falls, Coplin has shined in his two Auggie seasons, now standing 13th in school history with 1,167 points in an Auggie uniform (57 games, 55 starts). His 20.5 Augsburg points per-game career average is currently fourth-best in school history. His .884 free-throw percentage at Augsburg is currently tops in program history, while his 7.9 rebounds per-game average is 11th-best and his 117 three-pointers are 14th-most. He has 448 rebounds, 181 assists, 115 steals and 37 blocked shots as an Auggie. Including his first year at UW-River Falls (85 games, 65 starts), Coplin now has scored 1,251 career points (14.7 per-game), with 505 rebounds (5.9 per-game), 131 three-pointers, 212 assists, 136 steals and 42 blocked shots.