Cooper Flagg of Newport, Maine, is seen at the training camp for the U17 World Cup national basketball team. Credit: Courtesy of USA Basketball

Just a few months ago, Cooper Flagg was celebrating leading his hometown Nokomis Regional High School boys basketball team to its first-ever Class A state championship.

The 15-year-old Newport native now has a new reason to celebrate after being one of 12 players named Wednesday to the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team.

Flagg’s selection follows five days of training camp at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Flagg and 11 other players were selected from 18 finalists to compete in the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup in Malaga, Spain, from July 2-10.

Team USA opens play on Saturday, July 2, against Lebanon, then faces Slovenia on July 3 and Mali on July 5 to complete group play. Tournament play begins on Wednesday, July 6.

The USA, which boasts a 37-0 record in FIBA U17 competition, will vie for its sixth-straight World Cup gold medal dating back to the event’s inception in 2010.

The team was selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee, and the roster represents the high school graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.  

The 6-foot-8 Flagg, who will attend national prep basketball power Montverde (Florida) Academy as a sophomore this fall with his twin brother Ace, is one of two players from the Class of 2025 on the U17 national team along with Koa Peat, a 6-8 forward from Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona.

Peat is ranked No. 2 nationally in the Class of 2025 by ESPN, while Flagg is No. 3.

A third member of the Class of 2025, 6-8 forward Bryson Tiller from Pace Academy in  Atlanta, Georgia, was one of the final cuts.

The 2022 U17 Men’s National Team also includes David Castillo, Dennis Evans III, Jeremy Fears Jr., Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, Ron Holland, Ian Jackson, Karter Knox, Asa Newell, Sean Stewart and DaJuan Wagner Jr.

Newell, a 6-9 forward from Destin, Florida, who is a member of the Class of 2024, also attends Montverde Academy.

Several players on the 2022 Men’s U17 roster were members of the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship team that won a gold medal in Xalapa, Mexico, including Castillo, Fears Jr., Holland and Jackson. Both Fland and Evans III were participants in the 2021 Men’s U16 National Team training camp.

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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...