South Portland High School's JP Estrella looks to the hoop while guarded by Oxford Hills High School's Colby Dillingham in the Maine Class AA boys basketball championship game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett

Two members of the 2022 Bangor Daily News All-Maine boys basketball team could become teammates at Duke University some day.

The possibility is still a few years away, but if it doesn’t happen it won’t be for lack of interest from the denizens of Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

New Duke head coach Jon Scheyer and his staff made a scholarship offer to 6-foot-8 freshman forward Cooper Flagg of Nokomis Regional High School in Newport in mid-May.

Now the Blue Devils have made a similar offer to 6-foot-11 junior center Joseph “JP” Estrella of South Portland.

Estrella announced the news on social media Tuesday night.

Estrella averaged 20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots per game last winter to lead coach Kevin Millington’s South Portland High School team to a 21-1 record and the Class AA state championship — the Red Riots’ first gold ball since 1992.

In addition to earning BDN All-Maine first-team status, Estrella was named the Southwestern Maine Activities Association player of the year after leading that league in scoring and blocked shots and ranking second in rebounds.

Estrella is considered a three-star recruit in the 247Sports Composite Rankings and rated 165th among the prep basketball players in the Class of 2023 overall and 21st among centers.

Estrella received his first college scholarship offer from Syracuse after attending that school’s Elite Camp last summer. Since then he has gained additional offers from Tennessee, Providence, Iowa, Boston College, Xavier, Marquette, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Maryland, Illinois, Miami, UConn, Creighton and the University of Maine.

Joseph “JP” Estrella, South Portland basketball. Credit: Contributed photo

Estrella, who competes for the Massachusetts-based Middlesex Magic on the AAU circuit, will play his senior season of interscholastic basketball next winter at New England prep power Brewster Academy of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

As part of the Class of 2025, Flagg wouldn’t be able to join Estrella at Duke until the 2025-26 season. Flagg and twin brother Ace are planning to transfer after the current school year ends to Montverde (Florida) Academy, which in April won its sixth consecutive GEICO High School Nationals championship.

A five-star recruit ranked third nationally in the boys basketball Class of 2025 by ESPN, Cooper Flagg averaged 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocked shots while leading Nokomis to a 21-1 record and the program’s first Class A state title last winter and shot 62 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free-throw line.

He became the first freshman to be named Gatorade Player of the Year for either boys or girls basketball in Maine history and was the top choice on this year’s BDN All-Maine team.

Flagg and his brother currently are playing Maine United’s 15-and-under squad, the first Maine club team to compete in the highly acclaimed Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Maine United has compiled a 7-1 record in its first two EYBL tournaments, and is set to return to EYBL action July 7-10 in Kansas City, the final event leading up to the season-ending Peach Jam on July 20-24 in Augusta, Georgia.

Flagg earlier this week was one of four players from the Class of 2025 invited to participate in the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team training camp June 18-25 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Thirty-five players overall will vie to make the final 12-player roster that will represent Team USA at the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup scheduled for July 2-10 at Malaga, Spain.

Flagg already has received additional scholarship offers from UCLA, Michigan, Iowa, UMaine, Albany and Bryant.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...