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Stepinac's Boogie Fland Is Ready to Put on a Show in Arkansas

It was senior night, so Johnuel “Boogie” Fland knew his emotions would be high. And that was before the day came. It's a day to take things to the next level.

He was in class that morning when the text came in. It was John Calipari: I'm coming to the game today. Knowing that the guy who just recruited him would be in the building, the Arkansas commit suddenly had more motivation for that night's game. “My family was there, my future coach was there—and just for him to come out like that was special,” Fland said. “I wanted to put on a show.”

Everything went down in the gym that night. “I was crying before the game, and when I saw them honoring me by joining McDonald's All American Team, the tears came down,” he said. When the game was called, Fland made it clear that the emotion of the occasion wouldn't keep him from performing at the level that earned him a top-20 pick and one of the top point guards in the 2024 class. Line: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals to lead his Archbishop Stepinac (NY) team in the night dub.

His only minor disappointment after that? “Man, I was trying to get 50,” Fland said. “I was locked in.”

It was a dominant but unsurprising showing from Fland, a 6-3, 175-pound, Bronx-born guard who checks all the boxes for an elite floor general. Explosive and dominating, he sets the pace as a scorer and playmaker, a skill defined by the players whose games he works to emulate: everyone from LeBron and SGA to Ja Morant, Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley. That includes working to perfect the game's one unstoppable shot.

“If you go on YouTube and search for my name, you'll see the reverse as an icon. Just look at how many are playing in the back,” he said. “I'm very fast, they try to play a shot and a drive, and when I see that they're playing a drive, it's easier for me to go back and go back.”

The path that took Fland from the Bronx to White Plains (where Stepinac is located) and will see him in Lexington leading a loaded Wildcat recruiting class next winter has included many stops that have allowed him to showcase his skill and high power in the sky. . He was among the best hoopers in his age group for as long as anyone can remember. “When I entered, I think, second grade, we were ranked 25th in the country,” he said of his AAU team. “Yes, second grade, but it was something for us.”

A few years later, he led his AAU team to the national championship game, where he missed what could have been the game-winning shot. “That time taught me that, you know, there will be a decline,” he says now. “I was very used to winning. That opened my eyes. That taught me that I have to be better.”

The progress has not stopped, as he has repeatedly shown against elite competition. He was a member of the US U17 national team that took gold in the 2022 FIBA ​​World Cup and was selected to join the US squad for the 2024 Nike Hoop Summit. With that CV, where can he improve? Before Coach Cal left on senior night, he said I need to talk more, talk more — it helps everybody on the floor, and it helps me.”

That shouldn't be too difficult. Fland brings the same energy to every court he steps on, and his Bronx roots are always on display.

“New York is different. If people say that, it's true,” he confirmed emphatically. “You have to have a swagger in you. You can't be tough. When you go to the gym, they should know, Oh, you're from New York.

Photo by Marcus Stevens.

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