Duke basketball: Cooper Flagg passed over for Team USA roster spot after major injury

The opportunity presented itself for the Blue Devil to land a roster spot with USA Basketball
2024 USAB Men's Training Camp in Las Vegas; Duke basketball forward Cooper Flagg
2024 USAB Men's Training Camp in Las Vegas; Duke basketball forward Cooper Flagg / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Everyone who followed the selection process of Team USA knew it was inevitable there would be an injury with someone on the roster and the door could be cracked open for Duke basketball freshman Cooper Flagg to take the roster spot.

All Flagg had to do was excel with the Select Team during USA Basketball Training Camp and hope his work was good enough to be the replacement. It was no fault of the 17-year old, but he was not selected to the Olympic roster after it was announced Kawhi Leonard withdrew from the team due to injury.

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White will join Team USA ahead of its journey to Paris, multiple reports confirmed on Wednesday morning.

White was not present at training camp this week in Las Vegas but will join the superstar squad in Las Vegas shortly as its first exhibition game is scheduled for Wednesday night (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1) against Canada.

Cooper Flagg stole the show on Sunday and Monday in Vegas, nearly pulling an upset of Team USA on Monday afternoon in a scrimmage. He showcased his ability to score at all three levels as well as being a quality defender and facilitator.

"You can just see the quiet confidence that he carries with himself," Select Team head coach Jamahl Mosley told ESPN after seeing Flagg play on Sunday.

"High basketball IQ, tough, willing to learn. He gets to the spots that he needs to for a shot a lot, able to get to the rim, great touch on his shot."

Flagg, the No. 1 ranked recruit in the country entering college basketball, is widely considered as the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2025 NBA Draft following his one season with the Duke basketball program.

"I mean, he can play. There's no in between. There's me saying, in many different forms, he can just flat out play," Mosley continued.

It always was going to be an up-hill battle for Cooper Flagg to make the roster if an injury occurred but for Team USA, desperately needing to win the gold medal, a player like Derrick White makes the most sense given his shooting and defensive abilities that have been proven at the NBA level.

Flagg will return to Duke shortly to complete the program's offseason workouts before reporting for the start of the fall semester at the end of August.