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Cooper Flagg, Donovan Clingan share ‘special moment’ at UConn

Cooper Flagg, Donovan Clingan share ‘special moment’ at UConn
Cooper Flagg, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2024, and UConn Huskies star center Donovan Clingan share a special bond as their mothers both played together on the University of Maine women’s basketball team in the 90s. (Courtesy: @cooper_flagg/Instagram)

STORRS, Conn. (BVM) – The University of Connecticut Huskies men’s basketball program pulled out all the stops when it came to trying to woo Class of 2024 unanimous No. 1 recruit Cooper Flagg during his visit to the campus over the weekend. During the visit, Flagg took photos with Huskies center Donovan Clingan with the two clad in their mothers’ University of Maine basketball jerseys. Their mothers, Stacey Porrini Clingan and Kelly Bowman Flagg, played together on the Black Bears team from 1995-97.

The moment was an especially touching one for Kelly as she got to share the memories of her former teammate, who died of breast cancer in 2018 at the age of 42.

“Stacey was an amazing role model for me during my time at UMaine,” Kelly wrote on her Facebook page. “She was a great competitor and an awesome teammate. I had the privilege and honor to spend some time with her son, Donovan(National Champion), who has followed in his moms footsteps as a player. This past weekend Cooper took an official visit at UConn and we were able to do a special photo shoot with both of them wearing their moms jerseys. It was a special moment.”

Stacey is a Black Bears legend. She finished her time at Maine averaging 9.6 points and 7.9 rebounds for her career. She still ranks fifth in UMaine history with 929 rebounds and is No. 17 on the career scoring list with 1,128 points.

Meanwhile, Kelly finished her four-year career with helping the Black Bears win three straight American East championships, being named a team captain for the 1998-99 season and upsetting Stanford in the 1999 NCAA Tournament for Maine’s only NCAA Tournament win in school history.

The younger Flagg clearly enjoyed the moment as well as he shared a picture of himself and Donovan in their moms’ jerseys in his Instagram post of the visit. Donovan commented on the post writing, “def the move.”

Much like their D-I mothers, the two sons have had successful careers on the hardwood. Donovan came to the Huskies after a standout career at Bristol Central High School where he was a two-time Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year and a consensus top-50 recruit in the Class of 2022. As a freshman, Donovan appeared in all 39 games for the Huskies, averaging 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks while earning Big East All-Freshman team honors.

Donovan Clingan UConn Huskies men's basketball national championship
Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) celebrates with guard Hassan Diarra (5) after their win against the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium. (Credit: Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

As far as Cooper, he has had an excellent prep career. After he averaged 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 4.0 steals and 4.0 blocks in 22 games for a 21-1 state champion Nokomis Regional high school team in 2022, Flagg averaged 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.2 blocks in 25 games for national powerhouse Montverde Academy team last winter. In August, Cooper reclassified into the Class of 2024, making him one of the most sought-after seniors entering the season.

Cooper Flagg Montverde Academy basketball
Dec 1, 2022; Montverde, Florida, USA; Montverde Academy forward Cooper Flagg (32) shoots past IMG Academy forward Jayden Hastings (13) during the second half of the Sunshine Classic basketball tournament at Mills Championship Court on the campus of Montverde Academy. (Credit: Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

Given the connection between the Clingans and Flaggs, Cooper will likely put UConn near the top of his list. That’s before even putting into consideration that the Huskies are the defending national champions. While Cooper’s decision remains anybody’s guess, it is clear that UConn may have an ace up its sleeve in Donovan Clingan’s connection to the Flagg family.