Cooper Flagg puts winning above all in pursuit of Peach Jam title

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim07/08/23

There aren’t many players in the world built like five-star small forward Cooper Flagg, the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2025 — and maybe in all of high school basketball. The do-it-all wing boasts control and patience with an absurd basketball IQ, impeccable timing as a shot-blocker. He’s got the size and the length, the footwork and pace. Never rushed, free-flowing presence with guard handles. It’s the total package.

But ‘best player in the world’ conversations can wait, at least on his end — they’re being had whether he wants to participate or not. For now, his focus is on winning the U16 Peach Jam title with his Cinderella story Maine United squad.

Two wins away from a U16 title

“That doesn’t really matter, I’m just out here to win. Get my team as far as we can go,” Flagg told KSR in an exclusive interview on Saturday. ”(My favorite part of Peach Jam has been) this whole week, every win. Coming out here and proving that a team from Maine can come out here and do this.”

It helps when you have an unstoppable presence anchoring the team, the No. 1 recruit in ’25 averaging an absurd 25.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 8.2 blocks and 5.6 assists per contest in North Augusta. Five dominant performances, five wins — two away from a U16 title. And for Flagg, that’s all that matters.

“We have another game at 4:30, just trying to move on to tomorrow, he told KSR. ”It would mean a lot, proving that a team from Maine or a team from anywhere really can accomplish anything they put their mind to.”

Growing mentally and physically

But you can’t tell the story of Maine United without Flagg and what he brings to the table as a must-see talent every time he steps on the floor.

“My motor and my willingness to play hard every play (separates my game). My motor, defensively how versatile I am. And my ability to score, too,” he told KSR. ”My confidence (has grown the most), believing in myself no matter who I’m going against. I just want to be the best version of myself and make a living off basketball.”

Heavy emphasis on the mental side of things.

“Growing the most mentally, always staying stable. Working on that every day,” he added.

Ignoring the noise

He hears the noise, knows the buzz growing about his inevitable superstardom. But none of it matters.

At the end of the day, if he wants to turn those basketball dreams into reality, he knows he has to focus on himself and his growth on and off the floor. From there, everything else will fall into place.

“As far as rankings and recruiting class goes, I don’t really look at that and it doesn’t mean too much to me,” he told KSR. “I’m just trying to get better every day and worry about myself.”

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