Dario Madyoon ’17: How did you start playing basketball and when did you know it was “your sport?”
Alex Copeland ’15: I really loved football when I was younger because my dad played, but when I was 5, he put a basketball in my hand and I fell in love with it. I played for the Westside Junior Lakers when I was 5 or 6, and I remember I was the first kid in the league to do a crossover, which was pretty cool. I remember I thought that I was a young Allen Iverson. I had the braids and the headband and everything. I continued playing football through eighth grade, but then I really wanted to make varsity as a freshman so I realized that I really had to focus on basketball and put football in the past.
DM: What’s the most memorable moment of your Wolverine career?
AC: There were some great moments from each of my years at Harvard-Westlake.During my freshman year, I had a floater at the buzzer and the whole crowd chanted “he’s a freshman.” Sophomore year we beat Loyola and everyone stormed the court, and that was just an amazing feeling. This year we had a huge upset against Chaminade, which was an awesome moment because no one really thought we could do it. I have to say it’s between that and beating Loyola. Anytime we beat Loyola it’s special.
DM: Why did you choose the No. 4?
AC: Well, I grew up wearing three because of Allen Iverson. Freshman year I wore No. 1 because I’m pretty sure that’s what I was assigned. I remember Derick Newton ’14 asking me if I would wear a different number so he could wear No. 1. So I gave him No. 1 and I went with No. 4 and I feel like it’s become part of my personality now. I really like representing No. 4.
DM: How do you prepare before every game? Any rituals?
AC: I try not to have superstitions, but I always get caught up into it. I have some music that I listen to before every game. It’s a lot of Drake, J. Cole, Spooky Black, and Flatbush Zombies right now. I love to sing even though I’m terrible at it. You might catch me in the locker room singing out of tune before games. I always put my left sock and shoe on before my right. And I always have the same routine in warm ups. I don’t really like to talk about it or put it out there, but I do have a routine that I do in warm ups before every game.
DM: What has changed since being a freshman on the varsity team?
AC: Being on the team for four years, I’ve seen a lot of different seniors. I remember like it was yesterday what I felt like as a freshman, sophomore and even as a junior. I saw a lot of different ways to lead, and I picked different things from previous leaders that I liked and responded well to. I just tried to be a guy that the younger guys can look up to, learn from, and respect. I wanted them to know that not only can they count on me to steer them in the right direction, but also to be there for them when they’re down and support them.
DM: What has it been like playing for Coach Greg Hilliard in his final years?
AC: It’s been awesome. Coach H is a legend in the basketball community and high school basketball in California and even in the country. He’s taught me a great deal about being a basketball player and more importantly about being a good person. Some of the lessons he’s taught me about how to carry myself on and off the court are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It’s been a true honor playing for him.