Duke coach Jon Scheyer secured perhaps the biggest win of his career on Monday when five-star forward Cooper Flagg, who ranks as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting cycle by 247Sports, committed to the Blue Devils. Flagg’s commitment not only gives Scheyer and his coaching staff a major building block for the 2024-25 season, but it also jumps the Blue Devils to the No. 1 spot in the 247 Sports Class of 2024 Team Recruiting Rankings after finishing the 2023 recruiting cycle with the No. 2 overall class behind Kentucky.
Flagg is the third No. 1 overall prospect in Duke’s history and is he regarded as one of the more polished and heralded high school players in recent memory. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Montverde (Florida) Academy, committed to the Blue Devils over reigning national champion UConn. Flagg took only two official visits during his recruiting process and canceled his official visit to Kansas in early October.
“I think after I got on campus at Duke, I really started to feel it, to be honest,” Flagg told SLAM in an article explaining his decision. “… [I knew then] I wanted to go to Duke and that’s where I wanted to play college basketball. What went into the decision, I mean, I was just looking for a coaching staff I was really comfortable with, but [also] a coach and staff that was really going to hold me accountable. Being on the visit, I got to see them in practice, and see how they were holding their guys accountable, and really pushing them to be better. For me, ever since I was a little kid, I always had dreams of playing Division I basketball at the highest level. Especially with a place like Duke, once we got to campus, we felt it.”
Flagg joins a Duke recruiting class that already features three top-60 prospects in five-star forward Isaiah Evans, five-star forward Kon Knueppel and four-star forward Darren Harris. The Blue Devils are also in contention to land five-star guard Dylan Harper, five-star forward VJ Edgecombe and four-star center Patrick Ngongba ll as the early signing period nears.
Originally the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2025 recruiting class, Flagg reclassified up in order to be eligible for the 2025 NBA Draft. Flagg would have to play college basketball during the 2024-25 season — or otherwise be one year removed from high school — in order to be draft-eligible in 2025 under NBA rules. Because of his December 2006 birthday, he is just old enough to be an eligible for the draft.
Here are a few takeaways from Flagg’s commitment and what it means for the Blue Devils.
How Flagg fits at Duke
Flagg is the best two-way prospect in the country and the top overall high school player in America regardless of class or position. Flagg should fit in right away with the Blue Devils because he is an engaged defender that uses his size to block shots around the rim and he crashes the boards hard on both ends. On offense, Flagg has shown he can be a three-level scorer and has a killer instinct that makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in some time. Although Flagg projects as a power forward in college and at the next level, he is more of a prototypical modern wing that can operate as point-forward and an offensive hub in any offense. Duke has landed plenty of blue-chip prospects over the years, but it’s easy to make the argument that Flagg ranks near the top as one of the best recruiting wins in program history.
Here’s 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein on his own evaluation of the newly-committed Duke star from this summer after he grew into one of the best prospects in the world:
Cooper Flagg is an elite two-way prospect. His instincts are off the charts on both ends of the floor and he competes with a quiet type of killer instinct. He’s a defensive standout and particularly dominant as an off-ball defender. In fact, he’s as good of an underclassman shot-blocker as I’ve seen at his size. Offensively, he’s an excellent passer with a good foundation of early skill and developing playmaking ability. His footwork is excellent. His shooting and handling both good and continuously improving. He doesn’t necessarily need to be the focal point on that end of the floor, but he’s shown he’s plenty capable of it. Physically, frame’s Flagg is solid enough to absorb contact now and will only add additional muscle mass in the coming years.
Joining exclusive company
The Blue Devils have landed two previous No. 1 overall prospects in the 247Sports era. The first was Marvin Bagley lll in the 2017 recruiting cycle after he reclassified up to join the Blue Devils for the 2017-18 season to join three other five-star prospects in Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. The second No. 1 player came the following year when Duke landed RJ Barrett from the 2018 cycle. Duke finished that year with the No. 1 overall class after landing Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones. The 2024 class is shaping up to be the best in the Scheyer era and it signals the Blue Devils will be just fine on the recruiting trail even without legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.
All eyes turn to Harper
With Flagg off the board, the highest uncommitted prospect in the 2024 class is Harper, who currently holds multiple Crystal Ball predictions to Rutgers from 247Sports. Harper is also considering Duke, Indiana, Auburn and Kansas. The race for the No. 1 overall class in the country appears to favor Duke heading into the early signing period, but the program that is able to secure the services of the top guard in the class will have the best chance of competing with the Blue Devils for the top spot. Rutgers already has a commitment from Ace Bailey, the No. 3 overall player in the class and pairing him with Harper would certainly allow the Scarlet Knights to finish with their highest ranked recruiting class in program history.