Report: Stepinac Basketball Star Johnuel 'Boogie' Fland Seeks Arkansas Move

| 04/15/2024

By: Steven Schwankert

A top prospect throughout his junior and senior years of high school, Fland may follow coach John Calipari, who was just hired by the University of Arkansas

Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel "Boogie" Fland shoots a free throw during Stepinac's 73-52 victory over St. Francis Preparatory School of Brooklyn, March 6, 2024. Fland scored 21 points in the CHSAA "AA" city intersectional semi-final game.
Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel "Boogie" Fland shoots a free throw during Stepinac's 73-52 victory over St. Francis Preparatory School of Brooklyn, March 6, 2024. Fland scored 21 points in the CHSAA "AA" city intersectional semi-final game. Photo by Steven Schwankert/The Good Newsroom

Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, who committed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky beginning in the fall of 2024, has asked to be released from that commitment, ESPN reported Monday.

Fland has not yet given any indication via social media of any change in his college plans. 

The six-foot-three-inch point guard, considered one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country, may be looking to join former Kentucky Coach John Calipari at the University of Arkansas, ESPN reported, quoting sources. Calipari left Kentucky earlier this month after his school’s team lost in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Kentucky hired former Brigham Young University coach Mark Pope on Friday, April 12.

At an October 2023 event at Archbishop Stepinac High School, Fland announced his commitment to Kentucky, having narrowed the field to that school, the University of Alabama, and the University of Indiana. 

Fland credited the efforts made by Calipari, who won the national championship for Kentucky 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 Fland’s visit to Kentucky in September 2023 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.

Arkansas was not among Fland’s top choices, neither when he narrowed the field to eight schools, nor when he named his final three in early October 2023. The player visited the campuses and basketball programs of all three of his final choices, and Alabama Coach Nate Oats — who took his team to this year’s Final Four — Indiana Coach and former New York Knicks player and coach Mike Woodson, and Calipari all visited Fland at home separately.

The Arkansas Razorbacks won the NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1994, but have not appeared in the Final Four since 1995.

Fland was busy over the weekend in Oregon, where he scored nine points in Team USA’s 98-75 win over Team World at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Calipari is one of men’s college basketball’s most decorated coaches, having been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

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