Archbishop Stepinac Basketball Star Johnuel 'Boogie' Fland Chooses Kentucky
By: Steven Schwankert
Coach John Calipari beats out Alabama and Indiana to sign the class of 2024’s top point guard
Boogie will boogie in Kentucky.
The six-foot-three-inch point guard and Archbishop Stepinac High School senior born Johnuel Fland made the announcement Friday afternoon in the Stepinac’s gymnasium in White Plains where he made his name as a player, if not his nickname.
Stepinac students gathered in the and chanted their classmate’s name, “Boog-ie!” “Boogi-ie!” as he arrived for the announcement.
Head basketball coach Patrick Massaroni introduced Fland and pointed out that he is the 28th Stepinac athlete to go to play at the university level in the last eight years. He then turned the program over the Bronx native, flanked who sat flanked by his parents.
Fland first thanked them, and then his coaches, teachers, and teammates at length, before finally informing his choice. With caps from each of his choice schools on the table before him, he first picked up the Alabama hat, then put it down. He then lifted the Indiana cap, almost put it on, and then finally donned the Kentucky cap, saying “Kentucky!”
As his classmates erupted, Fland disappeared momentarily behind a temporary screen, emerging in a Kentucky wool cap and white and blue t-shirt, running and jumping into a sea of Stepinac students, who roared their approval.
Fland credited the efforts made by Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who the national championship for that school in 2012, for sealing the deal.
Calipari’s early identification of Fland as a primary recruiting target, his reputation and success at the college level, and Kentucky’s overall strength of program clearly paid off.
It was his visit to Kentucky in September that tipped the scales in that college’s favor. “On my visit, I watched practice and workouts. You go against the best every day and that’s what I want,” Fland told ESPN.
“I’m so excited. I’m pumped,” he said.
“I feel great. Happy for him. Excited for this moment. He’s earned it. It’s his day, him and his parents, truly remarkable and a credit to him and how hard he’s worked,” Coach Massaroni told The Good Newsroom in an interview.
His selection was well-informed. Fland visited the campuses and basketball programs of all three of his final choices, and Alabama Coach Nate Oats, Indiana Coach and former New York Knicks player and coach Mike Woodson, and Kentucky Coach John Calipari visited Fland at home.
Fland could have kept the schools in suspense, as the “early window” for signing athletic recruits doesn’t end until November 8. However, by announcing his decision just under three weeks from the end of the early window, Fland not only guarantees his spot with the program of his choice, but he is also demonstrating respect for the two coaches whose teams he won’t be joining and gives them time to focus on signing other players.
Fland can now turn his attention fully to Stepinac’s upcoming basketball season, which tips off in early December, not to mention the academic requirements of his final year of high school. Stepinac Basketball is set to play nine non-conference games and 14 conference games — numbers that do not include city playoff tournaments.
For the upcoming season, Boogie Fland will continue to play in Stepinac’s distinctive black and red. But very shortly, he’ll be appearing in Kentucky blue and white.
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