Stepinac Basketball Star Johnuel 'Boogie' Fland Completes Arkansas Move

| 04/26/2024

By: Steven Schwankert

Fland follows new University of Arkansas Coach John Calipari, who initially recruited the top Harlem prospect for the University of Kentucky

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

Next stop: Fayetteville.

Archbishop Stepinac High School senior Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, who in October 2023 had committed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, will follow former Kentucky Coach John Calipari to his new post at the University of Arkansas, Fland confirmed via Instagram on Thursday night, April 25.

Calipari, who won the national championship with Kentucky in 2012, became the highest-paid coach in college basketball with the move to Arkansas. Shortly after that move, Fland indicated that he was turning down his offer to play for Kentucky and re-opening his recruiting.

The move comes with far less fanfare than the October 2023 event at Archbishop Stepinac High School, when Fland announced his commitment to Kentucky, having narrowed the field to that school, the University of Alabama, and the University of Indiana. 

The six-foot-three-inch point guard, considered one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country, credited the efforts made by Calipari for sealing the deal. Calipari’s early identification of Fland as a primary recruiting target, the former Kentucky coach’s 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. 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.

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. He has also coached at the University of Memphis, the University of Massachusetts, and in the NBA, three seasons with the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets).

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