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Projected top pick in ’25 NBA draft Cooper Flagg commits to Duke

Projected top pick in ’25 NBA draft Cooper Flagg commits to Duke
  • Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff WriterOct 30, 2023, 08:39 AM ET


    • Basketball recruiting insider.
    • Joined ESPN in 2014.
    • Graduate of University of Delaware.

Cooper Flagg, the top prospect in high school basketball and the favorite 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 seen as the overwhelming favorite since the early days of Flagg’s recruitment. Coach Jon Scheyer made his presence felt at Flagg’s games, even when Flagg was playing on the 15U Nike EYBL circuit, and continued to be a staple at his games last spring. Coaches from UConn, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan also spent time watching him this past summer.

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

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

In August, Flagg announced he was reclassifying from the 2025 class to 2024 and planned to enter college next fall. He will turn 18 in December of his freshman year, making him eligible for the 2025 NBA draft.

Flagg, a 6-foot-8 forward from Maine, cemented himself as the premier prospect in the country with a long stretch of productive outings in June and July. He entered the summer ranked No. 2 in the 2025 class behind Cameron Boozer, but he earned MVP honors at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp in Orlando, Florida, in late June, and then put on a virtuoso performance at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in July.

In one of the most consistently dominant showings 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 New Heights Lightning.

Overall, Flagg averaged 26.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 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 (Florida) to play for legendary high school coach Kevin Boyle. He played in 25 games last season, putting up 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks in just under 18 minutes per game.

He’s taking on a bigger role offensively for Montverde this season, averaging 19.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three games at the Border League in Las Vegas earlier this month.

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

“Flagg is just different,” an NBA scout told ESPN over the summer. “He has the mental makeup. He’s consistent with his mindset, motor and production. If he doesn’t develop an ounce of his offensive package from this day forward, he’s still potentially in the running for a defensive player of the year at the NBA level. Just the progressions that he’s shown with the live-ball playmaking, shot-creating off the bounce, instinctive reads and plays on both ends and then how he carries himself … he has a chance to be a transformational basketball player in the sport as a whole.”

“Cooper Flagg is what a modern-day wing looks like in the NBA,” one college coach added. “Long, athletic, versatile and can dribble, pass and shoot. I think the intensity and competitiveness he plays with will translate really smooth 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 Kon Knueppel (No. 22) and Darren Harris (No. 45) in the fold, and remain in pursuit of five-star prospects V.J. Edgecombe (No. 5) and Pat Ngongba (No. 19). All three commits and Edgecombe and Ngongba visited Duke for Countdown to Craziness alongside Flagg two weekends ago.

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

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