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Preseason POY Tracker: Boozer’s Crown, Flagg’s World!

Duke-bound Cooper Flagg of FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) leads a two-horse race within the 2023-24 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker powered by Ballislife.com. The 6-foot-9 ahead edges final 12 months’s Mr. Basketball USA honoree, Cam Boozer of Columbus (Fla.), in an in depth race between the 2 elite prospects amongst 20 candidates. The Mr. Basketball USA Tracker is now in its seventeenth season.

RELATED: All-Time Mr. Basketball USA Winners | Ultimate 2022-23 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker

Let’s rewind again to the 2007 USA Basketball Coaching Camp in Las Vegas as Crew USA was making ready to revive its dominance of worldwide basketball. The late Kobe Bryant had requested a commerce from the Los Angeles Lakers just a few months earlier than the camp and the media was going to get an opportunity to speak to him for the primary time since as camp opened. Bryant would ultimately emerge because the chief of the “Redeem Crew” that received the Gold Medal on the 2008 Olympics in China, however at the moment in 2007 he wasn’t significantly near his future Olympic teammates.

With the assistance of J.J. Redick, Bryant was getting up his photographs with none dribbling, with none wasted movement and with little communication together with his teammates. He knew there was going to be a media onslaught and it was constant as soon as follow was over all the best way till the gamers left collectively from the gymnasium. Different Crew USA gamers, comparable to Carmelo Anthony, gave Bryant a tough time concerning the media onslaught and loved their valuable time away from the highlight.

After leaving the follow and heading to the subsequent grassroots basketball occasion on our schedule that day, we bumped into Chris Rivers, then Reebok Basketball’s Sports activities Advertising and marketing Director, concerning the follow. We advised him concerning the jovial follow session everybody had, count on for Bryant within the context of how severe he took it. Rivers uttered this assertion: “It is LeBron’s league, however it’s Kobe’s world.”

Rivers’ assertion echoes our sentiment about highschool basketball and this 12 months’s race for the nation’s most prestigious particular person honor: Mr. Basketball USA. For the primary time since LeBron James in 2002-03, highschool basketball has a returning Mr. Basketball USA. That will be 6-foot-9 Cameron Boozer of FAB 50 No. 3 Columbus (Miami, Fla.), the nation’s prime participant in 2022-23. He was the primary sophomore to ever earn nationwide participant of the 12 months honors. Over his profession when it comes to accomplishment, Boozer has an opportunity to dominate the highschool recreation like no participant since James did within the early 2000s.

If the preseason voting outcomes by the 10-man Mr. Basketball USA Tracker panel, plus feedback from one in every of its senior members, are any indication, it is truly another person who may be probably the most expert American-born highschool participant with positional NBA dimension for the reason that former St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) wunderkind.

That participant is 6-foot-9 Duke-bound Cooper Flagg, a re-classed senior from Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) who was a third 5 All-American final season for the Eagles as a sophomore. Whereas Boozer was final season’s most dominant highschool participant and deserving of any and all accolades that come his means, the highschool and grassroots world at the moment belongs to the sinewy ahead initially from Newport, Maine.

Flagg is the highest vote-getter within the preseason 2023-24 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker powered by Ballislife.com with 95 whole factors, besting Boozer by seven (87) factors total. In a season wherein 20 gamers obtained preseason recognition as a nationwide participant of the 12 months candidate, Flagg and Boozer clearly lead the pack. The nation’s prime senior prospect and its prime junior had been the one two gamers to seem on every of the ten ballots that make up the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker panel. Flagg, who dedicated to Duke on October 30 and was the 2022 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Yr, obtained six first-place votes (10 factors every), three second-place votes (9 every) with one poll itemizing him in third place. Boozer, who beat out Isaiah Collier (USC) and Ron Holland (G-League Ignite) for the celebrated honor in 2022-23, obtained two first-place ballots, 5 second-place ones, two third-place and one fifth-place (value six factors) for his 87 factors.

The 2 different candidates to obtain a first-place vote (one every) was undecided guard Dylan Harper of FAB 50 No. 18 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) and Rutgers-bound ahead Airious “Ace” Bailey of FAB 50 No. 21 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.). Many recruiting specialists really feel Harper will be a part of Bailey at Rutgers within the fall of 2024.

Flagg made an enormous leap throughout the 2023 grassroots season as a way to supplant Boozer as the highest nationwide participant of the 12 months candidate because the 2023-24 season ideas off. Following his sophomore marketing campaign for the common season Nationwide Interscholastic Basketball Convention (NIBC) champions, Flagg completed in tenth place total whereas showing on 4 ballots within the closing Mr. Baskeball USA tally of 2022-23. Flagg averaged 9.8 factors, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and a pair of.2 blocked photographs per recreation and he helped Montverde Academy qualify for GEICO Nationals for the eleventh consecutive season, however pure numbers do not start to inform the story of his affect. He runs the ground like a deer, is understood for his defensive versatility and his large play-ability on probably the most talent-laden group within the nation.

“There will not be a U.S. highschool participant of his dimension, 6-foot-9-ish, together with his mixture of ability and dimension since LeBron,” stated panel member and U.S. Basketball Writers Affiliation Corridor of Fame member Frank Burlison. “I believe Boozer is nice; it is shut, plus he is a 12 months youthful. In most different years, both man could be a hands-down No. 1.”

Two elements could play in a job within the voting that noticed final 12 months’s honoree are available in second this preseason. One, the highest participant on the No. 1 ranked group at the moment leads the best way. Second, every season is judged otherwise and final season has little or no bearing on the panelists’ perceptions of this upcoming season. As he did final 12 months when he overcame the nation’s elite seniors, Boozer is as soon as once more going to have to beat another person within the pole place for Mr. Basketball USA honors.

The nice factor is, the nationwide participant of the 12 months race will probably be selected the hardwood. Columbus and Montverde Academy will lock horns on December 1 (on ESPN2) at MVA to observe up on the terrific trilogy the 2 gamers had throughout the summer time grassroots season. The 2 groups might meet greater than as soon as this season as nicely. Boozer could have loads of alternatives to defend his title because the nation’s finest participant, and by that December 1 recreation could have already performed three FAB 50 ranked golf equipment, together with versus No. 6 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) on November 22.

The voting outcomes and the quantity of terrific early season video games create probably the most highly-anticipated early-season, excessive stage highschool hoop matchups in current reminiscence.

Be certain to love and subscribe to the “Within the Paint” podcast and keep logged in to Ballislife.com to trace the progress of the nation’s prime particular person gamers and the nation’s High groups.

Editor’s Notice: Click on on the “+” signal subsequent to every participant’s quantity to view what number of first, second, third or fourth place votes he received and his total level whole.

Rank Prev. Title Excessive College 1st 2nd third 4th Whole
1 10 Cooper Flagg (10) Montverde Academy (FL) 6 3 1 0 95
2 1 Cam Boozer (10) Columbus (FL) 2 5 2 0 87
3 11 Dylan Harper (8) Don Bosco Prep (NJ) 1 0 3 1 58
4 9 Flory Budunga (8) Kokomo (IN) 0 0 1 3 50
5T 29T A.J. Dybansta (5) Prolific Prep (CA) 0 1 2 1 36
5T 7 Tre Johnson (5) Hyperlink Academy (MO) 0 1 1 2 36
7 25T Ace Bailey (5) McEachern (GA) 1 0 0 0 29
8 29T V.J. Edgecombe (4) Lengthy Island Lutheran (NY) 0 0 0 0 20
9 25T Ian Jackson (2) Our Savior Lutheran (NY) 0 0 0 1 12
10 13T Koa Peat (2) Perry (AZ) 0 0 0 0 11
11 NR Derrion Reid (2) Prolific Prep (CA) 0 0 0 0 9
12 NR Derik Queen (1) Montverde Academy (FL) 0 0 0 1 7
13T 29T Cayden Boozer (1) Columbus (FL) 0 0 0 0 6
13T NR Darius Acuff (1) IMG Academy (FL) 0 0 0 0 6
13T NR Cam Scott (1) Lexington (SC) 0 0 0 0 6
16T NR Brandon McCoy (1) St. John Bosco (CA) 0 0 0 0 5
16T 8 Meleek Thomas (1) Lincoln (PA) 0 0 0 0 5
18T NR Tajh Ariza (1) St. Bernard (CA) 0 0 0 0 4
18T NR Boogie Fland (1) Archbishop Stepinac (NY) 0 0 0 0 4
18T NR Darryn Peterson Huntington Prep (WV) 0 0 0 0 4

About Mr. Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Ballislife.com’s panel of 10 specialists, which incorporates 5 McDonald’s All-American choice committee members, casts its vote for the highest nationwide participant of the 12 months candidates. Every panelist lists his prime seven candidates no matter class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 factors, a second-place vote incomes 9 factors and all the way down to 4 factors for a seventh-place vote. The quantity in parenthesis refers back to the numbers of ballots on which a participant appeared and former rankings refers to place in final season’s closing tracker.

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