NBA

New Duke recruit Cooper Flagg wows NBA stars at Team USA’s training camp

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Duke freshman Cooper Flagg, who hasn’t even played a single game in college, was part of a select squad that was invited to work out against the Olympic Team USA during its training camp in Las Vegas. The 17-year-old became the story of Monday’s practice, as he showed “no fear” and produced many power plays.

Starting with a three-pointer over Anthony Davis. Then an acrobatic putback over Bam Adebayo, and getting fouled in the process. And finally a baseline turnaround against Jrue Holiday. The rising star held his own against three of the best defenders in the NBA.

“The opportunity, it was great,” Flagg expressed. “It was a blessing to be here. I think just the physicality, and just the level of where I want to get to, there’s a lot to get better at, a lot where I need to keep improving. This showed just how big the details are.”

Once the scrimmage was over, the teenager couldn’t help but feel blessed about the opportunity. “I was shocked, I was surprised and I was really excited for this opportunity,” Flagg said of suiting up with the select team. “And I’m just really blessed that I was able to come out and capitalize on it and show what I have.

“I was really grateful to come out and learn. That was the biggest thing for me — just being able to learn and grow, to share a gym with all of these great, great names. Legends. So, I’m just truly blessed.”

However, he wasn’t the only one left with their mouth open, as U.S. select team coach Jamahl Mosley was convinced that Cooper proved why there’s always been so much buzz around the young prospect, especially as he’s only going to improve his game in college.

“He kicked butt here,” said the tactician, who also coaches the Orlando Magic. “There’s a respect factor for what he’s done. People who have not seen him play, as he gets himself going within the game, they quickly see what he can do.”

Flagg impressed both the NBA stars he played against, as well as the young roster that suited up along with him on Monday’s session

During Monday’s scrimmage, during which the Olympic roster was only able to beat the young select team by one point, Flagg was seen everywhere from down the stretch to producing power plays in the offensive end.

Once it was over, he impressed players on both teams, including national team guard Devin Booker. “He wants it,” the Phoenix superstar expressed after the contest. “I know this experience he’s going to take with him and move forward.”

One who played beside him was Jaime Jaquez Jr. of the Heat, who was considered one of the best rookies during the last NBA season. The Miami guard expressed lots of admiration for the Gatorade player of the year, the Naismith player of the year and McDonald’s All American.

“To be able to do what he did, not even playing a college game, let alone an NBA game, there’s no fear,” he assured. “It’s relentless. And the thing that you can tell about him is that he just has a knack and the will to win. He doesn’t need the ball. He just finds a way to it. And the ball finds its way to him. That’s something that you can’t teach. He’s just got a great feel for the game.”