Basketball team

Cooper Flagg earns a spot on the U17 national basketball team

Cooper Flagg performs a drill during a USA Basketball Junior Men’s National Team mini-training camp last April in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of USA Basketball/Harrison Zhang

Cooper Flagg has earned a spot on the U17 men’s national basketball team, USA Basketball announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-8 Flagg, who helped lead Nokomis Regional High School to the Class A state championship last season, is one of 12 players to compete at the FIBA ​​U17 World Cup 2022 in Malaga, Spain, July 2-10.

The national team, which was selected by an American basketball committee, includes high school student-athletes who will graduate in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

The team was chosen after a five-day training camp at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Flagg impressed during training camp, said USA Basketball director of youth and athletic development Don Showalter.

“I really liked what he did and how good he was,” Showalter said after camp ended in early April. “He came on and really showed us, I think, another level of what he can be as a basketball player.

Flagg, who will attend Montverde Academy, the basketball prep powerhouse in Montverde, Fla., in the fall, was one of 18 finalists for a spot on the roster.

The team, which Sherman White will coach, includes a few players who won a gold medal at the 2021 FIBA ​​U16 Americas Championship in Xalapa, Mexico, including David Castillo, Jeremy Fears, Jr., Ron Holland and Dennis Evans III.

The U17 team will be looking for their sixth consecutive gold medal since 2010.

Cooper Flagg (32) of Nokomis defeated Cameron Hughes (34) and Aaron Newcomb (20) of Brewer in a men’s basketball game January 20 in Newport. Michael G. Seamans / Morning Watchman

Flagg captivated basketball audiences across the state last winter with his selfless play and thunderous dunks. It came to Nokomis with a lot of buzz that is rarely given to Maine high school freshmen. Flagg, along with brothers Ace and Hunter, helped lead the Warriors to a 21-1 season that culminated in the Class A title. Flagg was named Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, the first freshman to win the price. He averaged 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Flagg scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Class A final victory over Falmouth.

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