Maine’s Cooper Flagg, Brockton’s AJ Dybantsa amongst largest standouts at Nike’s Peach Jam showcase

Native Information

A pair of native 16-year-olds grew to become viral sensations after robust performances at one of many prime highschool tournaments.

Cooper Flagg, who attends Montverde Academy, has confirmed to be one of many prime prospects within the 2025 recruiting class. (AP Photograph/Gregory Payan)

With Victor Wembanyama now within the NBA, the following doable younger basketball sensations may hail from New England.

Extremely-regarded 16-year-olds Cooper Flagg and AJ Dybantsa each dominated at Nike’s EYBL Peach Jam, an occasion that pits most of the nation’s prime AAU basketball groups towards one another in age-based tournaments.

Flagg was arguably the largest standout of the week-long occasion in North Augusta, South Carolina, with highlights from every of his video games flooding social media. The Newport, Maine, native averaged 26.7 factors, 13.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and a whopping 7.7 blocks per sport by the primary 5 video games of the match, serving to Maine United win every sport to advance to the championship sport of the U16 (16-and-under) match.

Regardless of his stellar play, Flagg and Maine United fell to Nightrydas Elite 58-50. The matchup truly pit Flagg towards fellow class of 2025 recruit Cayden Boozer (son of former NBA star Carlos Boozer), who Flagg has been battling with for the highest spot within the total class recruiting rankings.

Boozer outscored Flagg, placing up 23 factors with 5 assists. However Flagg additionally crammed up the stat sheet. The 6-foot-8 ahead had 18 factors, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks.

Two of Flagg’s factors got here off a formidable alley-oop dunk to himself.

That was simply one of many many spotlight performs Flagg revamped the week that displayed his size. He made quite a few high-flying dunks and tough blocks to assist him put up absurd stat strains all through the week, corresponding to a 38-point, 11-block sport he had towards Professional Expertise.

Flagg additionally acquired to satisfy basketball royalty through the week. LeBron James, who was teaching his son Bryce through the occasion, shared a moment with Flagg on Friday.

Whereas he’s nonetheless taking part in for Maine United, Flagg has already begun faculty elsewhere. He transferred to Montverde Academy in Florida forward of his sophomore yr starting in 2022. The non-public highschool has became one of many nation’s prime basketball excessive faculties within the nation, serving to gamers like Joel Embiid, Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett, and Ben Simmons become NBA draft picks.

As Flagg nonetheless has two years left of highschool, the recruiting course of for him is simply beginning to ramp up. He truly obtained his first scholarship supply from Bryant College when he was in eighth grade.

Like many prime recruits although, Flagg has his eyes set on larger faculties. He stated in January that Duke is his dream faculty and truly mentioned Celtics star Jayson Tatum as certainly one of his inspirations.

Dybantsa, in the meantime, didn’t have the group success that Flagg had, however he might need achieved one thing extra spectacular. The Brockton native led the 17-and-under division in scoring though he simply completed his freshman yr of highschool.

Dybantsa scored 25.8 factors per sport over Expression Elite’s 5 video games within the match. The 6-foot-8 teenager shot 46.6 % from the sphere and 30.8 % from deep, making 81.6 % of his free throws whereas including 5.6 rebounds and a couple of.4 rebounds per sport for the Boston-based EYBL group.

Earlier than ending his freshman yr at St. Sebastian in Needham, Dybantsa was tabbed because the No. 1 recruit for the category of 2026. He appeared to assist show that this previous week at Peach Jam, with CBS Sports activities’ Gary Parrish evaluating him to Tatum, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.

Whereas he’s being in comparison with star gamers, Dybantsa’s largest inspiration exterior of his household is one other participant from Massachusetts, the late Terrence Clarke. The Dorchester native tragically died in a automobile crash after ending his freshman season at Kentucky whereas making ready for the 2021 NBA Draft.

“That was mainly my cousin,” Dybantsa instructed Parrish. “We’re not associated, however that was mainly my cousin. Each time I seen him, I used to be little bro to him.”

Dybantsa instructed Parrish that he plans to do a yr of school earlier than pursuing the NBA. He already has a number of scholarship presents, together with ones from Boston School, Michigan, and Alabama.