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Kentucky four-star commit Boogie Fland talks Kentucky ahead of McDonald’s All American game

Johnuel “Boogie” Fland. Photo sourced from Instagram: boogieee

Kentucky four-star commit Johnuel “Boogie” Fland spoke about Kentucky basketball ahead of the McDonald’s All American game on Monday.

Fland, a four-star recruit by On3 and 247Sports and a five-star by ESPN and Rivals, committed to Kentucky in October before officially signing with the Wildcats for the 2024-25 season.

Being selected as one of 24 boys to participate in 2024 McDonald’s All American game, joining a lengthy list of Kentucky legends to receive the honor including Devin Booker, Anthony Davis and, most recently, Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards, Reed Sheppard and D.J. Wagner.

Kentucky men’s basketball commit Johnuel “Boogie” Fland dribbles the basketball during practice for the 2024 McDonald’s All American game on Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Houston, Texas. Photo provided by Alex Pennacchia.

“It’s been a blessing,” Fland said. “I dreamt of this, as a kid coming from the Bronx you don’t really get this opportunity that much so I had to grind for it. I feel like I earned it to be here with all these top players.”

It didn’t take long for the conversation to steer toward Kentucky, with the pressure higher than ever for head coach John Calipari to perform after the Cats’ disappointing defeat at the hands of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. The defeat marked the second first round exit in three years for UK.

“Kentucky fans want to win,” Fland said. “That’s what they’re used to. The reaction (toward Calipari) was the right reaction. We, they came up short and I feel like they thought they had another game, (but) it’s March, you’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”

Surprisingly, despite acknowledging the situation he’ll inherit, Fland said he felt no pressure regarding the All American game or his freshman season in Lexington.

“I spoke with (Calipari) and he just told me not to worry about that, I’m pretty sure he knows that I know that,” he said. “I don’t feel like there’s pressure. We chose Kentucky because we knew what it came with, we go there because of that. Without pressure there’s no privilege. You just gotta go in there and do what you gotta do.”

Made for the moment, the McDonald’s All American game won’t be Fland’s first run in with several of his fellow All Americans with his high school, Archbishop Stepinac having played Montverde Academy, the home of Ohio State’s Jaloni Cambridge, Liam McNeeley, Maryland’s Derik Queen and, perhaps most famously, Duke’s Cooper Flagg.

“I played against them, we didn’t come up with the (win) but this is what you want,” Fland said. “You want to play with the best of the best and we both (himself and Jayden Quaintance) put ourselves in the position to be here.”

With the 2024 McDonald’s All American game set to tip off from the Toyota Center in Houston, Fland seemed ready for the spotlight and the opportunity to prove himself further.

“For me it’s just embracing that role,” he said. “You sign up for pressure and everything that comes with it. You gotta look at it as a privilege to be in this position to see all these top players and have all this media. You have to embrace it.”

The competition is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. ET and can be viewed live on ESPN2. Fland will be participating along with fellow Kentucky commits Quaintance and Karter Knox.

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