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.
— CUE THE MUSIC (@Cue_the_Music) September 26, 2023
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 mom‘s 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.
Hall of Fame Profile: Legacy of commitment and perseverance propel Porrini into UMaine Sports Hall of Fame
— Maine Athletics (@BlackBearNation) September 26, 2023
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.
🔹 Upset Stanford for first-ever NCAA Basketball Tournament victory
🔹 24-7 record
🔹 17-1 league record
— Maine Women's Basketball (@BlackBearsWBB) September 17, 2021
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.
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.
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.