Duke basketball signee Cooper Flagg to be ‘the best player in college,’ Jared

The stunning $2 million NIL deal prized transfer Great Osobor signed as part of his commitment to Washington sent shockwaves through the college basketball world and drew awareness to the financial gap between veteran standouts and the prized headliners of the incoming freshman class. Among those joining the college ranks next season with ample hype but more modest earning potential is Duke signee Cooper Flaggwho has long been the top prospect in the cycle.

Flagg went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 overall player in the 2024 class dating back to the moment he reclassified from 2025. He could instantly be the best player on the Duke roster if he reaches his lofty potential, and Duke product and NBA Draft prospect Jared McCain says his stardom could go well beyond the reaches of the Blue Devils program.

“The people transferring in college, they’ve already proven themselves at the college level,” McCain told national college basketball writer Isaac Trotter. “I can see why they get more money, but for some freshmen — shoutout my guy Cooper Flagg — I think he’ll be the best player in college.”

Flagg is one of the early favorites for the No. 1 overall pick at the 2025 NBA Draft. He still has to prove himself at the college level but is an elite two-way prospect from Maine who closed his prep career at prestigious talent factory Montverde (Fla.) Academy.

“His instincts are off the charts on both ends of the floor and he competes with a quiet type of killer instinct,” 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein wrote in a scouting report. “He’s a defensive standout and particularly dominant as an off-ball defender. In fact, he’s as good of an underclassman shot-blocker as I’ve seen at his size.

“Offensively, he’s an excellent passer with a good foundation of early skill and developing playmaking ability. His footwork is excellent. His shooting and handling are both good and continuously improving. He doesn’t necessarily need to be the focal point on that end of the floor, but he’s shown he’s plenty capable of it. Physically, Flagg’s frame is solid enough to absorb contact now and will only add additional muscle mass in the coming years.”

Flagg headlined the high school all-star circuit this offseason with his showings at the Nike Hoop Summit and McDonald’s All-American Game. He also led Montverde Academy to a national championship. The 6-foot-8 forward finished his senior year averaging 16.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He added 2.6 blocks and 1.6 steals while shooting 54% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc.

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Duke closed the recruiting cycle with by far the top-ranked class. The haul is unmatched in star power as every single one of the Blue Devils’ six signees ranks inside the top 37 nationally.

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