There was a buzz around guard Cindy Blodgett for her four seasons at Lawrence High School in Fairfield and four years at the University of Maine.
The Clinton native set the school, state and UMaine scoring records; was a four-time Kodak All-American in college and went on to be drafted sixth overall by the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers in 1998. She was a four-time state Class A champion and three-time Maine Gatorade Player of the Year in high school.
Everyone in the state knew Cindy Blodgett whether they liked basketball or not.
But there hasn’t been an athlete in Maine who has ever garnered the interest of the entire country like Cooper Flagg has.
And he is only 16 years old.
The 6-foot-8 forward is regarded as one of the nation’s top two basketball players in the 2025 class. Some experts rank him as the top player in the country, while others have Cameron Boozer as the No. 1.
Flagg’s rise to national prominence began when he became the first freshman in the state to be named the Gatorade Player of the Year as he led Nokomis High of Newport to its first ever state Class A championship in the 2021-22 season
His notoriety skyrocketed last summer when he represented the United States in the FIBA World Under-17 Championships in Malaga.
After averaging a 9.3 points, 10 rebounds, 2.9 blocked shots and 2.4 steals, he was chosen to the tournament’s All-Star Five. He had a men’s U17-record 17 rebounds in the championship game against Spain to go with 10 points, eight steals and four blocks.
Head coach Sharman White said afterward that “words are not enough to describe” Flagg’s performance in the tournament. “This young man has an incredible future ahead of him, and it was a true honor and a pleasure to be able to coach him,” White said.
Earlier this summer, Flagg, who was a sophomore at Montverde Academy in Florida last season, was selected the Most Valuable Player at an NBA Players Association camp for the top 100 high school players in the country.
At the prestigious Peach Jam 16-and-under tournament in South Carolina last week and over the weekend, Flagg, who plays with his twin brother, Ace, averaged 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, 6.9 blocked shots and 5.7 assists for Maine United. His AAU team went 6-1 and lost to Boozer’s NightRydas 58-50 in the championship game after beating them earlier in the tournament.
NBA superstar LeBron James even chatted with Flagg at the tournament.
Dale Duff, a broadcaster at Houlton’s WHOU who is closing in on his 50th year of doing basketball play-by-play, said one of the reasons Flagg has received so much buzz around the country is the exposure he receives thanks to advances in broadcasting and social media.
“With livestreaming, everyone can watch him play,” said Duff, who added that there are several national polls that rank the top basketball prospects.
The scouting report at NBADraftRoom.com said Flagg is an “elite prospect.”
Daniel Olinger of SI.com called him “one of a kind, generational prospect.”
An NBA scout told Yahoo Sports that Flagg and Boozer are “two of the best prospects to ascend the high school rankings in the past 10 years,” adding that they “both have a floor of a starting-level player in the NBA with the chance of developing into all-league players with longevity.”
The Athletic’s Today’s Bounce newsletter on Friday asked if Cooper Flagg is the next Victor Wembanyama, referring to the French basketball player who was the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs and is considered one of his generation’s greatest basketball prospects.
The Athletic declared that Flagg is “about to be the next big NBA phenom” and noted that he “might be the most impressive white American prospect we’ve had in decades — more so than Chet Holmgren and Kevin Love. We can’t deny that adds to the hype he’s about to get. As of right now, it looks like Flagg can be everything a team wants. It would be shocking for him to not end up on an All-Star-level trajectory.”
Flagg’s list of college scholarship offers continue to grow. Among the schools reported to be offering him a scholarship in addition to the University of Maine are defending national champion UConn, Duke, Michigan, UCLA, Iowa, Kansas State, Kansas, Villanova and West Virginia.
It appears that the sky’s the limit for Flagg.