West Virginia goes 3 deep for Class of 2025 Montverde Academy star Cooper Flagg | Zagsblog
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Friday / June 21.
  • West Virginia goes 3 deep for Class of 2025 Montverde Academy star Cooper Flagg

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    UNION, N.J. — Duke may be widely perceived in recruiting circles as the favorite for Cooper Flagg, but West Virginia coach Bob Huggins isn’t deterred.

    Huggins and assistants Josh Eilert and DerMarr Johnson were in attendance Friday night at the Metro Classic at Kean University when Flagg and Montverde (FL) Academy, ranked No. 1 by ESPN, dismantled Link Academy (MO), ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps, 84-58.

    Flagg, who was battling an illness, put up 4 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in the win.

    “It’s great to see the coaches being invested,” Flagg said of the West Virginia coaches after Montverde beat Roselle Catholic, (NJ), 84-62, Saturday for their third straight win at the Metro Classic. “I just love to see it.”

    West Virginia offered Cooper and his twin brother Ace last summer before they transferred from Nokomis High in Maine to Montverde and remain hopeful of landing the twins. Huggins chatted with their mother, Kelly, a former college star at Maine, and also with legendary Montverde coach Kevin Boyle.

    “Cooper’s so versatile,” Boyle said. “He blocks shots, he defends, he rebounds.”

    In December, Flagg was named the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year after averaging 9.3 points and 10 rebounds while leading the U.S. to the U17 World Cup gold medal as the youngest member of the team.

    If the NBA one-and-done rule changes before Cooper graduates high school in 2025, he could opt to go straight to the pros and forego college. He certainly impressed the scouts last month at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

    “Flagg is arguably one of the best, if not the best, high school prospect that has come up through the ranks over the past 10 years, with his age in mind,” one NBA scout in attendance said.

    “Not sure I can recall anyone better than him with how he impacts the game on both ends of the floor. His best asset is his shot-blocking and passing which shouldn’t overshadow how great of a rebounder, finisher, defender and energy giver he is. I guess you can pull him apart and say he is not a great shooter just yet but that is about it.”

    The scout said he could imagine NBA teams tanking in Victor Wembanyama-style for Flagg down the road.

    “When you talk about ceilings and upside, just imagine how good one can become and that is what you have with Flagg,” he said. “As long as he continues to develop properly, get stronger, play the right way as he does and make shots, we are talking about the next Wemba-like tank job for NBA teams.”

    As for Montverde, they got out of Boyle’s home state with three straight wins, including emphatic routs of the No. 1 team in the MaxPreps poll and the No. 1 team in New Jersey.

    Next up is a game with rival IMG Academy (FL) on Friday.

    “It was the third game in three days, you gotta be careful not to have a letdown,” Boyle said. “You’ve been on the road, in a hotel for three and a half days, it’s easy to lose energy, even though you try to stay hyped. Overall it was a great weekend for us, a lot of guys contributed.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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