Nokomis’ Cooper Flagg (32) dunks the ball against Cony during a Class A North semifinal game on Feb. 23 at the Augusta Civic Center. Flagg, along with twin brother Ace, will be leaving Nokomis to attend Montverde Academy in Florida. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

VEAZIE — After one brilliant season that captivated basketball fans across Maine , the Flagg twins are moving on.

Nokomis freshmen Cooper and Ace Flagg announced Tuesday they will be transferring to basketball prep powerhouse Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.

“It’s really exciting, to let everyone know,” Cooper said. “I’m ready to make the jump, so let’s get started.”

“It’s going to be really great for us. It’s a great program down there,” Ace said. “Obviously we’re sad to leave all our friends behind, but … we’re going to go down there and get better every day.”

Like his brother, Cooper said there were “mixed emotions” about the transfer. In an Instagram post announcing the move, Cooper wrote “Maine will always be home.”

“Obviously I’m sad that I’m leaving all my guys back here,” he said, “but I’m excited that I’m going on to hopefully bigger and better things, and going somewhere that’s going to push me to be the best version of myself.”


At Montverde, which is about 30 miles west of Orlando, they will join Maine United teammate Kaden Bedard. Maine United, which is coached by Kaden’s father Andy Bedard, is a select basketball team comprised of Maine high school players. The team will compete this summer in the Nike-sponsored Elite Youth Basketball League, which is one of the top developmental circuits in the country for players aged 17 and under.

The Flagg twins led Nokomis to a 21-1 season that culminated with the Class A championship. The 6-foot-8 Cooper, one of the top-ranked freshman players in the country, was named Maine Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocks per game, and he scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Class A final victory over Falmouth.

The 6-7 Ace was a standout for the Warriors as well, averaging 11.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season.

“We had known for a while that we chose there, we were just waiting for acceptance,” Ace said. “I just think it’s the best option for us. It’s better competition to get better.”

The Flaggs join South Portland standout JP Estrella as high-impact Maine basketball players who are transferring out of state. Estrella, a 6-foot-11 junior who’s generated Division I buzz, announced last week he was leaving South Portland High to play for Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Montverde Academy has produced an abundance of NBA players over the years, including Ben Simmons (Brooklyn Nets) and D’Angelo Russell (Minnesota Timberwolves). The Flaggs applied to the school between late January and early February, and received their acceptance last week.


“It was a little bit difficult, just because (of) the concern for them on how people were going to react and feel, mostly their close friends and family,” said Kelly Bowman Flagg, the twins’ mother and a Maine United coach. “And everybody’s been so super supportive and encouraging about the decision that they’ve made. We have the right people in our corner, and that was evident based on their reaction.

“They’re still going to be Maine boys, and they’ll be coming home for sure. But it’s a relief, too, that people know that this is our decision. Now we just are able to move on to the next part of the journey.”

Cooper Flagg was already in line for a memorable week. He will be attending the USA Basketball Junior National Team minicamp in New Orleans from April 1-3.

“I’m really excited for that. It’s going to be really fun,” Cooper said. “Obviously, it’s just a big sign of how much the hard work’s paying off, when you’re gaining success from the hard work. It’s a sign to keep working harder.”

Nokomis freshman Cooper Flagg maneuvers around Falmouth defender Zach Morrill during the Class A state championship game on March 5 in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Flagg is one of nine Class of 2025 players going to New Orleans, and 48 players altogether. USA Basketball director Sean Ford said the list is comprised of many of the best young players in the country.

“It’s the next generation of elite basketball players,” Ford said. “There are people that are probably in this Final Four that were involved in this before. … We want to field teams with the best possible players. This helps us evaluate the players and helps them grow.”


Ford said the minicamp will offer personal and group instruction, as well as chances to hear from NCAA representatives about the college recruiting process. Ford said the camp will be a way for players to develop their skills as well as enter the pipeline with USA Basketball for its national teams.

“We’re just trying to identify the elite players and help them in their pathway to be an elite player and continue to be an elite player,” Ford said. “(We want to) show them a little bit of what USA Basketball is so that when there is a competition that they’re eligible for, they’ll be prepared to play for USA Basketball and hopefully want to play.”

Eight coaches will run the camp, which will give players chances to receive high-level coaching and play scrimmages against other high-ranking players.

“A challenge for every elite player is how do you learn how to play with and against other elite players,” Ford said. “In Cooper’s case, let’s get him in the gym, let’s show him some things that he can work on and he can continue to get better (at). Everyone here is a gifted player, but no one’s as good as they need to be to advance in their careers.”

Flagg said he’s going into the minicamp ready to see what USA Basketball has set up.

“I’m not really sure (what to expect) too much,” he said. “I just know I’m going to be surrounded by the best of the best, with a lot of great basketball minds and a lot to learn from.”

Ford said Flagg’s reaching this level is a reminder of how players from all areas of the country can reach the national stage.

“It goes to show you, if you put your head down and you work hard and you’re really good at something, people will find you,” Ford said. “In this day and age, if you’re elite at anything … people will find you. That’s what’s really kind of cool about Cooper’s situation.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.