14-Time All-Star Has High Praise for Cooper Flagg at Team USA Camp

Cooper Flagg

Getty Cooper Flagg earned high praise from Kevin Durant at Team USA camp

Team USA will take the court against Serbia on July 28 in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Team USA opened practice in Las Vegas the first week of July with scrimmages against a USA Select Team that featured potential 2025 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Cooper Flagg. Flagg earned high praise from Pheonix Suns‘ Kevin Durant on July 9 for his performance at Team USA camp.

“He looks like a hell of a player, somebody who’s only going to get better with more experience,” Durant told reporters on July 9. “He’s 17 years old coming in here playing like a vet almost. No emotion. Just going out there and doing his job. That’s a good sign.”

Flagg was “dominating” during the USA scrimmage on July 8, wrote The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach on X. Flagg, 17, is committed to Duke, and is the only collegian player on the select team.

Cooper Flagg Shining at Team USA Camp

Flagg’s selection to the USA Select Team shouldn’t come as much surprise. Flagg was the No. 1 recruit in the 2024 class according to ESPN. Flagg was named to the All-Star Five at the 2022 FIBA U17 Mens World Cup. He also won the 2024 Nike Hoop Summit playing for the USA.

Flagg is the first collegian player to participate with the senior USA team since Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott in 2013.

The NBA Future Starts Now X account was full of clips of Flagg producing during the scrimmage against the National Team.

“He took over the scrimmage,” wrote NBA.com’s Shaun Powell on July 8.

“He nearly led the select team to a win in the final moments of a tight game with a few baskets, mainly because his teammates — all young NBA players — deferred to him. That was a sign of respect,” wrote Powell. “On one late sequence, he elevated for a 3-pointer over Anthony Davis — who blocked one of Flagg’s shots Sunday, sending the teenager to the floor — then followed up seconds later with a putback, plus the foul.”

Flagg Earning Respect

“He kicked butt here,” said U.S. select team coach Jamahl Mosley of the Orlando Magic, according to ESPN. “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.”

Durant was not the only player who praised the young talent.

“He wants it,” Durant’s Suns teammate Devin Booker said, according to ESPN. “I know this experience he’s going to take with him and move forward.”

“To be able to do what he did, not even playing a college game, let alone an NBA game, there’s no fear,” said select team forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. of the Miami Heat. “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.”

Flagg’s confidence played a role in his success at Team USA camp. Being the youngest player on the floor with NBA superstars seems like a load of pressure. However, the pressure of the situation did not phase Flagg.

“It’s some pressure — I wouldn’t say pressure, kinda a surreal feeling to be able to share the court. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and to be here,” Flagg said, according to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill. “So just knowing I could go out here and compete, I kinda had no worries. I didn’t put no pressure on myself, just because I’m here for a reason. I’m confident, I was just playing ball.”

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