Cooper Flagg is announced as a starter prior to Montverde Academy’s game against Gonzaga College High School on Jan. 5 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. Flagg scored 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked nine shots in Montverde’s 93-51 win. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Cooper Flagg’s ever-growing trophy collection added another accolade Wednesday as the Montverde Academy senior was named the national Gatorade Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.

Flagg, a Newport native who starred as a freshman at Nokomis Regional High before transferring to the Florida prep school, beat out Airious Bailey of Georgia and VJ Edgecombe of New York for the prize. Flagg is the No. 1-ranked prospect in ESPN’s Class of 2024 and is headed to Duke University, while Bailey is No. 2 and headed to Rutgers, and Edgecombe is No. 4 and committed to Baylor.

The award has an impressive list of prior winners that includes LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons and Karl-Anthony Towns.

In December, Flagg spoke about the boost he’s received from playing on a talent-laden team, and how it’s helped him stand out as its best player.

“I think it’s just benefited me from playing with really great players, because at the next level from high school you’re going to be playing with four other guys on the court that were top high school players,” Flagg said. “I think it’s a good experience to be able to just get ready for that, and be able to practice against those types of guys every day.”

The honor, which comes after Flagg was named the Naismith Player of the Year as the country’s top player, comes at the end of a season in which the 6-foot-9 wing player dominated on the national stage. Montverde is 30-0 heading into the Chipotle High School Nationals and the No. 1 team in the country, and Flagg has been the central piece, averaging 16.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. His averages for rebounding, steals and blocks lead the team, and his playmaking, scoring and defensive abilities have drawn raves.


“Playing against that level of competition every day, I’ve just grown as a player all around, and continued to grow and grow and grow,” he said in December.

Two of Montverde’s most impressive wins, against Prolific Prep and No. 1 Class of 2025 prospect AJ Dybantsa, came with Flagg leading the way. He averaged 16 points, 9.5 rebounds and four blocks in the two victories, one of which came in front of a national TV audience on ESPN2.

Flagg’s career began in Maine amid intense hype as a freshman at Nokomis, and he was named the 2021-22 KVAC Player of the Year after averaging 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocks per game. He then led the Warriors to their first Class A title, scoring 22 points and pulling down 16 rebounds against Falmouth.

After transferring to Montverde with his twin brother, Ace, the Flaggs returned to Maine in January for a pair of games in Portland. Montverde defeated Gonzaga College High School of Washington, D.C. and then CATS Academy Boston of Braintree, Massachusetts, with Cooper averaging 26 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in front of sold-out crowds at the Cross Insurance Arena and Portland Expo.

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