The projected top pick in the 25th NBA Draft Cooper Flagg has committed to Duke

Jeff BorzelloESPN staff writerOctober 30, 2023 at 08:39 AM ET5 minutes to read

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Cooper Flagg, the No. 1 high school basketball prospect and front-runner to be the No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft, announced his commitment to Duke on Monday.

Flagg chose the Blue Devils over UConn.

Duke was viewed as the favorite from the early days of Flagg’s recruitment. Coach John Shear made his presence felt at Flagg’s games, even when Flagg was playing in the 15U Nike EYBL circuit, and continued to be a key player in his games last spring. Coaches from UConn, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan also spent time watching him last summer.

Three schools emerged for Flagg: Duke, UConn, and Kansas. He took an official visit to Storrs, Conn., in late September, as the Huskies continued to close the gap. Shortly after, Flagg canceled a scheduled visit to Kansas, leaving only the Blue Devils and Huskies. But the second visit to Duke, for the Blue Devils’ Countdown to Madness event last weekend, shifted the momentum firmly toward Scheyer and the Blue Devils.

“After I got to campus, I really started to envision myself at Durham,” Flagg told SLAM in his commitment video. “All the love I felt made me really excited, to see all the craziness and atmosphere in Cameron. I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the brotherhood.”

In August, Flagg announced that he would reclassify from the Class of 2025 to 2024 and intends to attend college next fall. He will turn 18 in December of his junior year, making him eligible for the 2025 NBA Draft.

Flagg, a 6-foot-8 forward from Maine, cemented himself as the nation’s No. 1 prospect with a long stretch of productive outings in June and July. He entered the summer ranked second in the 2025 class behind Cameron Boozer, but he earned MVP honors at the National Basketball Players Association’s Top 100 Camp in Orlando, Fla., in late June, then had a talented performance at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in July. .

In one of the most consistently dominant performances in the event’s history, Flagg averaged 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 6.9 blocks at the Peach Jam. He had a double-double in all seven games, including three triple-doubles. He put up 38 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, and 12 blocks against Pro Skills and 37 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 10 blocks against the New Heights Lightning.

Overall, Flagg averaged 26.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 5.2 blocks and shot 37.4% from 3-point range in 22 games with Maine United last spring and summer.

After leading Nokomis Regional High School (Maine) to a state title as a high school freshman, Flagg transferred to Montverde Academy (Fla.) to play under legendary high school coach Kevin Boyle. He played in 25 games last season, recording 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks in just under 18 minutes per game.

He’s assuming a bigger role offensively for Montverde this season, as he averaged 19.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three Border League games in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Flagg represented USA Basketball at the FIBA ​​U17 World Cup in 2022 when he was just 15 years old, and helped lead him to a gold medal. He averaged 9.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and team-highs 2.4 steals and 2.9 blocks in seven games, including a 10-point, 17-rebound, eight-steal and four-block performance in the final against Spain. The 17 rebounds were a single-game record for the U17 men’s team. He was named USA Basketball’s Athlete of the Year in December 2022.

“Flagg is just different,” one NBA scout told ESPN over the summer. “He has the mental makeup. He’s consistent with his mentality, his movement and his production. If he doesn’t develop an ounce of his offensive package from this day forward, he’ll probably still be in contention for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.” the level. Just the progress he’s shown in making plays with the ball, making shots off the bounce, making reads and playing instinctively on both ends and then how he conducts himself… he has a chance to be a transformative basketball player in the sport as a whole.”

“Cooper Flagg is what a modern NBA wing looks like,” one college coach added. “Long, athletic, versatile and can dribble, pass and shoot. I think the strength and competitiveness he plays with will translate seamlessly to the next level.”

Flagg’s commitment immediately makes Duke the favorite to land the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. The Blue Devils already had five-star wing Isaiah Evans (No. 8) and top-50 guards Kuhn Knoebel (No. 22) and Darren Harris (No. 45) in the fold, and remain in pursuit of five-star prospects VJ Edgecombe (No. 5) and Pat N’Gongba (No. 19). All three commitments, Edgecombe and Ngongba visited Duke for Countdown to Craziness alongside Flagg two weeks ago.

Scheyer has the No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes in his first two rotations since being named Mike Krzyzewski’s successor.

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