LINCOLN — The Nebraska men’s basketball program, seemingly snake-bit for years on paperwork and eligibility issues, on Tuesday got one of its best results in that regard in years.
Isaac Copeland, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound transfer forward from Georgetown, is immediately eligible this season. The school learned its appeal to the NCAA for NU’s first five-star recruit to not have to sit out 11 first-semester games was approved.
The medical redshirt granted for last season means Copeland is classified as a junior and has two full years to play at Nebraska.
NU coach Tim Miles said he learned at noon Tuesday about the positive ruling.
“We’re ecstatic for Isaac,’’ he said. “I’m so happy. He’s a tremendous player, but just for his career and what his goals are, this is really important.
“It certainly helps our team a great deal. It’s a great day that way for the Huskers.’’
Copeland, from Raleigh, North Carolina, was a five-star recruit out of Brewster Academy and ranked No. 16 in ESPN’s Top 100 for 2014 when he signed with Georgetown.
As a freshman, he made the Big East all-rookie team, averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 33 games. As a sophomore, he averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Copeland played in seven games last season at Georgetown before shutting down with a back injury. In one of those games, he posted 13 points and 13 rebounds in a one-point loss to Big Ten power Maryland.
He transferred to Nebraska in January and had surgery in Lincoln in late February.
Normally, mid-year transfers must sit out the second semester at their new school and the first semester of the next season. But Nebraska appealed on medical grounds for immediate eligibility in 2017-18.
If not granted, he would have had to sit until Nebraska’s home game Dec. 16 against Kansas.