Who is Cooper Flagg? 5 things to know about the high-ranking Duke commit

The Duke men’s basketball landed ESPN’s Top recruit in the Class of 2024 on Monday when five-star forward Cooper Flagg announced his commitment via Slam Magazine.

Here are five things basketball fans should know about the 16-year-old star.

Flagg is the projected No. 1 player in 2025

Duke should make the most of Flagg’s presence on campus, as he likely won’t be there long. According to most NBA Draft experts, he is expected to go first in the 2025 NBA Draft Scouts have speculated that he could be “one of the better No. 1 overall prospects of the decade.”

At 1.90 meters tall, he can handle the ball in both half-court sets and in transition, and his passing is one of his best attributes.

“It’s very difficult to compare him to a single NBA player because his game is so diverse,” Flagg’s AAU coach Andy Bedard said said ESPN. “The reality is that with the world-class skills of multiple players, you would have to create a ‘super player’ that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.”

Duke basketball
A general view of the “Cameron Crazies,” fans of the Duke Blue Devils, during the Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 20, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke men’s basketball acquired top recruit Cooper Flagg on Monday.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Flagg comes from an unusual hometown

Newport, Maine (Population: 3,133 in 2020) isn’t exactly a breeding ground for young pro basketball players, but Flagg has put the small town on scouts’ radars. During his freshman season, Flagg attended Nokomis Regional High School, where he became He became the first freshman to win Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year award and went on to lead the school to a state championship a series of lost seasons.

The next summer, Flagg and his twin brother Ace meet transmitted at Montverde Academy, one of the premier basketball prep programs in the country. In Montverde he impressed in several high-profile shows including the Hoophall classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, and increased his profile nationwide.

Flagg was supposed to announce his commitment last week, but he decided to wait after the shooting in Lewiston, just over an hour from his hometown.

“Our entire focus should be on supporting victims, their families and law enforcement.” Flagg wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Everything else can wait. My heart goes out to Maine.”

Flagg cites Larry Bird as a major influence

Given the region in which he grew up, it’s perhaps not surprising that Flagg modeled parts of his game after NBA legend Larry Bird. He said Slam Magazine that his family would play clips of the Celtics from the 1980s in the car as they drove hours to and from AAU games.

“We always had either the 1985 or 1986 Celtics championship games or the Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird movies. That inculcated Bird’s mindset in Ace and me. How he was always the hardest worker no matter what,” Cooper recalls. “Especially with the Celtics team that played the Rockets, it was more about teamwork and ball movement.”

Flagg has already impressed NBA stars

Perhaps Flagg’s best performance of the summer came in 2023 impressed at the Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s camp with his athleticism, size, length, competitiveness and skills.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum was impressed with Flagg’s mindset after Flagg attended his camp (like Flagg, Tatum went to Duke).

“He has something of his own about him, he’s not arrogant,” Tatum said Jeff Goodman. “He knows he is good, but he realizes he still has a long way to go. He attacks the boys, the professionals. He tried to block every shot and get every rebound. He didn’t play it cool. He played hard.”, in competition. He asked a lot of questions and listened.”

Duke has a stacked recruiting class

Top prospects don’t always make a college basketball team a contender because it is much younger than other programs that feature fifth-graders and transfer portal stars. Still, the Blue Devils now have Flagg (No. 1), Isaiah Evans (No. 8), Kon Knueppel (No. 22) and Darren Harris (No. 45) from the 2024 graduating class (all ranked above). ESPN). They are too allegedly still in the running for Dylan Harper (No. 2).

Expect the Blue Devils to be one of the NCAA’s biggest stories next year.