Duke Lands a Commitment from a New England Gem
In a move that surprised few but delighted many, 6'8" forward Cooper Flagg from Newport, Maine, recently declared his commitment to Duke University for the upcoming 2024-25 basketball season. While the nation has come to recognize Flagg's exceptional skills on the court, his journey to this commitment began much earlier, making waves in the basketball scene even before setting foot in high school.
Flagg's first introduction to the spotlight occurred during his eighth-grade year when he dominated the Zero Gravity Finals, playing at the varsity level. Leading his Maine United squad to victory against the City Rocks, he showcased a talent that transcended his age. The early success he had earned him his first Division I offer from Bryant University a month before entering high school.
From a scouting perspective, Flagg embodies the ideal player. Dubbed a dual forward by some, the label aptly captures his unique skill set. On the defensive end, Flagg possesses an uncanny ability to block shots and disrupt the opposition's offense with his length and timing. His relentless motor and steal-happy hands make him a formidable force on that end of the court. Moreover, his versatility and self-assuredness allows him to guard players of any position confidently.
On the offensive front, Flagg is equally impressive, thriving above the rim and fearlessly embracing contact around the basket. He boasts the capacity to create his own shots off the dribble and exhibits a consistent three-point shooting ability. His court vision is evident in his playmaking, creating opportunities for teammates and contributing to his well-rounded game. The attention and acclaim he has garnered are undoubtedly well-deserved.
During his freshman year in 2021-22, Flagg, playing alongside his twin brother Ace and older brother Hunter at Nokomis, led the team to its first-ever state title. He averaged an impressive 20.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals, and 3.7 blocks per game. His outstanding performance earned him the title of Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and later the prestigious 2022 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year for his pivotal role in securing the FIBA U17 World Cup title for Team USA.
Following his standout freshman year, Flagg continued to make headlines at Montverde Academy, playing alongside his twin brother once again, and some of the country's top high school talents. His recent performance at the Peach Jam in South Carolina, where he averaged 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 6.8 blocks per game, further solidified his status as a rising star. This impressive showing led Maine United to a runner-up finish in the Nike E16.
Flagg's commitment to Duke is not just a personal triumph but a testament to his roots. Originally hailing from Newport, Maine, his commitment was reportedly briefly delayed as a mark of respect for the tragic events that unfolded in Lewiston, Maine. Flagg's connection to his home state remains strong, emphasizing the importance of community and compassion in the face of adversity. A portion of the sales of his SLAM Cover Tee shirt will be donated to the fund for the mass shooting.
The Maine native joins the ranks of other highly-ranked New England forwards, TJ Power and Kyle Filipowski, in committing to Duke under the guidance of coach Jon Scheyer. As Flagg looks ahead to his collegiate journey, the basketball world eagerly anticipates the impact this dynamic player will undoubtedly bring to the storied Duke basketball program.