'Big 3' impress NBA scouts, Cooper Flagg's reclass option, NBA-TV broadcasts games: Peach Jam Roundup | Zagsblog
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Monday / May 27.
  • ‘Big 3’ impress NBA scouts, Cooper Flagg’s reclass option, NBA-TV broadcasts games: Peach Jam Roundup

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Hundreds of players competed at Peach Jam last week, but a clear “‘big 3” stood out to NBA scouts, college coaches and fans alike.

    Cameron Boozer of Nightrydas Elite (Class of 2025), Cooper Flagg of Maine United (2025) and A.J. Dybantsa of Expressions Elite (2026) are all in the discussion for the Best High School Player Regardless of Class — and all project to be high lottery picks when they enter the NBA Draft.

    “All three are lottery picks when they are eligible,” one NBA executive told me.

    “I have seen all three,” another NBA scout who is a former NBA player said. “I can’t believe how good they are at their age.”

    The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Boozer possesses size, skill and athleticism and averaged 18.7 points and 11.4 rebounds while leading Nightrydas Elite to the 16U championship over Flagg’s Maine United team on Sunday. He managed just 5 points in the championship game due to foul trouble, while his brother Cayden Boozer was the star with 23 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds.

    The Boozer twins, the sons of former Duke and NBA star Carlos Boozer, are just 15 and don’t turn 16 until July 18. They emphasized that they are not locks to go to Duke and are also being pursued heavily by Kentucky’s John Calipari and North Carolina’s Hubert Davis, among many others. Both said they plan to go to college, and won’t pursue a pro option.

    The 6-8, 195-Flagg came up short in his ultimate goal of winning the title but was the talk of Peach Jam as a walking triple-double while playing alongside his fellow Maine players, only a couple of whom are high-major players. He averaged 25.4 points while shooting 40% from deep, 13.0 rebounds and 6.9 blocks and posted more than 10 blocks in three games. He went for 34 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in the semifinals.

    Flagg came to Peach Jam after being named MVP of the NBA Top 100 Camp last month.

    After coaching his son Bryce James to an overtime victory in one game, LeBron James took a seat on the sideline and watched Flagg as a fan, later giving him some words of wisdom.

    With the Class of 2024 being generally considered week compared to 2023 and 2025, one NBA executive said it was possible Flagg would be the No. 1 overall pick were he eligible to be drafted in 2024 — which he is not.

    “He could be since there is no consensus No. 1 right now,” the executive said, adding that he’d like to see Flagg improve his 3-point shooting percentage and his ability to defend in space.

    “Let’s be honest,” the executive said, “he doesn’t have many weaknesses for a young player, but if he has areas to improve those would be the two.”

    Montverde (FL) Academy coach Kevin Boyle, who has coached three No. 1 picks, seven top-3 picks, nine lottery picks, 16 first-round picks and 19 current NBA players, told me Flagg was “unique” among players he’s coached.

    “He’s right up there with anyone [I’ve coached],” Boyle said. “His talent and his versatility makes him very unique. His size, his ability to fill up a stat sheet are incredibly special. He can have 10 points and be very instrumental with a handful of assists and deflections and blocked shots and defending the key player on the other team.

    “He can be such an incredibly valuable player in today’s NBA world because of his versatility that is really unique.”

    At 6-7, 190 pounds, Dybantsa was the only one of the trio who played in the 17U bracket at Peach Jam and all he did was lead the tournament in scoring at 25.8 points per game.

    Some NBA scouts suggested that while you might take Boozer or Flagg right now, 10 years down the line Dybantsa could be the best NBA prospect. But that is all a matter of opinion, of course.

    The Brockton, Mass. native who recently transferred to Prolific Prep holds offers from UConn, Boston College, Providence, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Alabama and Washington, but the reality is he can go anywhere he wants.

    For now, his father Ace, a Boston University Police officer who hails from the Republic of Congo, said “people hit me up from left and right, you just have to stay focused.”

    Ace said Prolific Prep coach Ryan Bernardi, a Milton, Mass. native “convinced me” to send his son to the Napa Valley, Calif. school.

    “He tried to recruit A.J. for the last year and a half and I kept on saying, “No, no, no,'” Ace said with a smile. “‘I guess no means yes to a coach. He finally convinced me. We went to visit.”

    Ace is determined to keep his son focused on two things.

    “I have him focused on books and basketball and I told him let daddy handle everything else,” Ace said, adding that his son is on the Honor Roll.

    “He can’t play ball if he doesn’t have Honor Roll.”

    COOPER FLAGG’S RECLASS OPTION

    While Boozer and Dybantsa don’t turn 19 until 2026, Flagg turns 19 in 2025, meaning he would be eligible for the NBA Draft that year.

    His NBA Draft clock — along with the fact that he’s dominating at the high school level — have led to discussions of Flagg reclassifying and going to college in 2024. A decision could be forthcoming this summer on his future plans in that regard.

    As for college, Duke’s Jon Scheyer and UConn’s Dan Hurley were regular fixtures at Flagg’s games, while Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Kansas’s Bill Self and coaches from West Virginia were also in attendance.

    Kelly Flagg, Cooper’s mother and coach, told me no visits have been set up as of yet.

    “We don’t have anything planned yet for either boy,” she said of Cooper and Ace, who is being recruited by GW, Maine, Penn and West Virginia, among others.

    “It hasn’t been overly crazy so we’ll see after this week,” she said of recruiting. “It may pick up a little bit with the intensity.”

    Noticeably not in attendance for Cooper Flagg’s games were Kentucky and North Carolina, suggesting they don’t think it’s worth the effort.

    “Duke is in the driver’s seat, just because the kid’s always liked Duke,” one source close to the situation said.

    Flagg’s older brother, Hunter, wore a Duke outfit one day at Peach Jam.

    Upon receiving an offer from Duke last May, Flagg referred to Duke as his “dream school.”

    Duke has been linked to Flagg for some time, in part because his mother played college basketball at Maine where she was a team captain as a senior. Kelly and Stacey Porrini Clingan, the late mother of UConn big man Donovan Clingan, played at Maine for coach Joanne P. McCallie, who coached at Duke from 2007-20.

    “Dream school obviously but there’s still so many more options that I want to look into and everything like that,” Cooper Flagg said in January at the Hoophall Classic.

    NBA-TV BROADCASTS GAMES

    The NBA has long had an unofficial presence at Peach Jam with guys like LeBron, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Thaddeus Young and Bradley Beal coaching or supporting teams.

    This year for the first time the NBA had a more official presence when it put 20 games on the NBA App, eight of which were broadcast on NBA-TV, with John Fanta holding down the fort and doing an excellent job as the host. The Peach Jam games were interspersed on NBA-TV with coverage of new NBA stars like Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, Scoot Henderson and Amen and Ausar Thompson. (The Peach Jam finals were again broadcast on ESPNU Sunday.)

    “The NBA App is designed to be an all-in-one destination for basketball fans around the world to access live games, highlights, behind-the-scenes content and original programming from the NBA and some of the most compelling leagues, competitions and events around the world,” NBA Senior Vice President. and Head of Social Digital & Original Content Andrew Yaffe said in a statement. 

    “Showcasing Nike EYBL Peach Jam games on the NBA App and NBA TV provides fans with an opportunity to watch the next generation of basketball players and is a natural collaboration given the strong tradition of EYBL alumni in the NBA as well the presence of NBA player-sponsored EYBL teams.”

    After LeBron watched her sons play in an NBA-TV game, Kelly Flagg said it was great that Maine United’s fans who couldn’t make the trip (many did) had access to the games on TV.

    “That’s cool that they’re getting that kind of exposure,” she said of the NBA-TV broadcasts, “not just to our Maine fans but everybody is really getting to see what Maine basketball is about.”

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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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