From Maine to fame: Five fun facts about Cooper Flagg, the next big thing in basketball


Over the past year, Cooper Flagg has been weaving his way into becoming a household name for basketball fans.

After rising through the recruiting ranks to become the No. 1 player in the 2024 national basketball class, Flagg added to his hype by choosing to play his presumed one year of college ball for the polarizing Duke Blue Devils. Flagg is projected to be the first pick in the 2025 NBA Draft

This summer, he’s fanning the flames even more with the impressive showing he’s having as a member of the 2024 USA Men’s Basketball Select Team. His all-around play against some of the best basketball players in the world — Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Steph Curry and more — as they prepare for the Olympic games has created a few viral moments for Flagg. These trending plays further solidify Cooper as a budding superstar; there’s even a fun argument Flagg should have replaced Kawhi Leonard on Team USA as a nod to Christian Laettner. Flagg has been a frequent discussion on ESPN this week, including Pardon the Interruption. This is not normal for a soon-to-be-freshman (non-Bronny division). 

But who was Flagg before he burst onto the hoops zeitgeist? Well, unfortunately for any haters, the early Cooper Flagg lore only proves that he’s always been destined for greatness.

Flagg’s Maine hometown once threw a parade for him

Prior to moving to Florida to attend powerhouse high school, Montverde Academy, Flagg spent his freshman year in his home state of Maine, attending the local school, Nokomis Regional High School. The ninth-grader averaged 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocks for Nokomis en route to winning the school’s first-ever high school state basketball championship. And in true championship fashion, the surrounding communities that Nokomis services threw Cooper a parade.

“The welcome that we had after the regional championship and the state championship was incredible,” Nokomis Regional High School coach Earl Anderson told 247Sports’ Isaac Trotter. “Motorcade, every fire truck in the area, police cars. Remember this is a rural area, but people were lining the road for one-and-a-half miles leading to the school which is in a remote area. Get to the turn to the Nokomis road and it’s fireworks. It was such a big deal.”

Flagg used to binge-watch the 1986 Celtics

In elementary and middle school, Flagg would have to drive two hours from Northern Maine to Southern Maine just to practice for his Maine United AAU team. Instead of playing some handheld gaming console or zoning out to music, Flagg and his twin brother Ace would actually watch game footage of 1986 Celtics on a portable DVD player, turning the ride into a film study session on the 67-win team. As a result, the Flagg brothers have always had a strong basketball IQ.

“They’ve understood the game the right way,” Bedard said. “The family has always appreciated the right play, instead of the play for their kids”

Flagg has a great basketball pedigree

Some people are just born with it. Cooper Flagg is 6-8. His dad, Ralph, is 6-9 and played college ball at Eastern Maine Community College. But it’s Flagg’s mother, Kelly, who is the real star of the parental unit.

At 5-10, Kelly scored 1,200 career points in high school before having an accomplished career for the Maine Black Bears. Also, her father — Cooper’s grandfather — Dan Bowman was a respected and great basketball player in his prime. Bowman would even come to Nokomis to help coach the basketball practices.

His brothers are no slouch, either

Ace Flagg isn’t as good as his brother (I mean, who is?), but he’s no slouch on the court! Unlike Cooper, Ace did not move up to the 2024 class and remains in the 2025 recruiting class. This means he still has time to catch the eye of college coaches and he’s doing just that.

At 6-8 and over 200 pounds, Ace is a defensive anchor who earned early offers from George Washington and Florida Gulf Coast with interest from a host of other schools.

Ace and Cooper also have an older brother, Hunter, who started as a senior on the state championship-winning Nokomis Regional High School team.

He’ll take your money on the golf course

Surprise, surprise. The immensely talented Cooper Flagg isn’t just good at one sport. To quiet the noise and media attention around him, Flagg often takes to the golf course. On the greens, he’s known to have beaten many grown men — including his former high school coach.

“Let’s just say that the match isn’t over,” Bedard joked to Trotter.

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