There was a video floating around a while back of guys who were average to marginal NBA players in their playing days who took on guys who seriously overestimated their abilities and, naturally, destroyed them. The point of the video was even the least highly regarded NBA players are great players. The gap between them and the rest of us is Grand Canyon sized.
Among them was former Celtic Brian Scalabrine, who was on the USC team that lost to Duke in the 2001 NCAA tournament.
He’s been on the Celtics network the last several years and he’s also taken an interest in rising star and Duke target Cooper Flagg and, in fact, is helping to train him and his twin brother, Ace. And he sounds really, really impressed: “Both the brothers will come down, stay at my house, and workout in the summer days. But I just think the kid is special… I think he is a generational talent.”
Strong words. But obviously Scalabrine, who saw the NBA elite up close and personal, knows it when he sees it.
Putting Duke aside for a moment, the Flagg story is really cool. You periodically see guys come out of nowhere, geographically speaking. Larry Bird came from French Lick, Indiana. Jerry West came Cheylan, West Virginia, population 776. Tim Duncan came from St. Croix, hardly a basketball hotbed. And Alaska has produced Trajan Langdon, Carlos Boozer and Mario Chalmers.
It’s just kind of cool to think that Maine, which has produced three NBA players over the last 75 years with the best being Duncan Robinson, may give the world a generational player.
If other kids get inspired, they may also spark a much higher level of basketball in the Pine Tree State.
Incidentally, the Flagg brothers fit Duke’s recruiting profile in many ways, and in one that sometimes isn’t noticed quite as much: they come from a basketball family. Their mom, Kelly, played for former Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie at Maine, and their dad played too.