The return of guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for his senior season ensured Georgetown of a leading man for the 2015-16 campaign.
The forecast for Isaac Copeland suggests the rising sophomore is next in line.
Such a declaration isn't a major surprise. Copeland joined the program as a five-star recruit, according to ESPN. The 6-foot-9 forward took control at times during his first season on the Hilltop. Copeland, part of a strong five-player recruiting class, received All-Big East rookie honors along with teammate L.J. Peak. More opportunity exists as the Hoyas lost four key pieces from their rotation, including second-leading scorer Joshua Smith, starter Jabril Trawick and key big man reserve Mikael Hopkins.
During a recent interview with CSNwashington.com, coach John Thompson III was asked which of his players might take the "leap" next season.
"I think Isaac will," Thompson stated without hesitation while adding "others have the potential to."
Copeland's final stats - 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds - won't wow a casual observer. After a slow start, the North Carolina's native athleticism, poise and all-court game did just that.
During a three-game stretch in January, he sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left corner to beat Butler and then scored 17 points in consecutive wins over No. 4 Villanova and at Marquette.
Over his final 17 games, Copeland ranked third on the Hoyas with 9.4 points, second in rebounds (5.7), blocks (0.7) and 3-point shooting percentage (41.0).
That impressive streak caught the attention of national observers as well. NBC Sports put Copeland on a short-list of potential breakout stars for 2015-16. With another level of assertiveness, added strength and continued improvement across the board, no reason to think such predictions won't come true.
When it comes to upside, Copeland isn't alone. A starter throughout the season, the electric Peak explodes at the basket and is already savvy enough to live at the free throw line. If he improves an awkward, rotation-less shot, Peak could skyrocket as a sophomore. Point guard Tre Campbell played with confidence and effectively ran the attack when given minutes as a rookie. Forward Paul White, another rising sophomore, might be the most versatile of the bunch, as evidenced by a lineup suggestion from Smith-Rivera.
Three incoming freshmen - center Jessie Govan, forward Marcus Derrickson and wing option Kaleb Johnson, are four-star recruits per ESPN. Frontcourt returnees Bradley Hayes, Reggie Cameron and Trey Mourning could also be in the mix for minutes.
"It's going to be a competition," Thompson said of next season's lineup. "That's the good thing about next year's team. I think we're going to have competition at every spot."
Just not at one of the forward spots. In that area, Copeland is the leading man.