By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Sophomore guard Adam Flagler has quickly become a household name and a steady contributor for the No. 2 Baylor Bears, but rewind two years ago and hardly anybody knew who Adam Flagler was.
Flagler wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school. Despite leaving Duluth High School in Duluth, Ga., as its all-time leading scorer, Flagler was rated as a 2-star prospect by ESPN and not even given a star rating by 247 Sports.
Despite this, Flagler excelled during his freshman year at Presbyterian, averaging 16 points per game and being named the Big South Rookie of the Year. But after his stellar freshman campaign, Flagler decided to take a risk.
Flagler announced he would be transferring to Baylor, trading guaranteed success in the Big South at Presbyterian for a chance at success on the national stage with the Bears. It’s now safe to say that Flagler’s decision has paid off.
The third-year sophomore hasn’t disappointed in his first season in the Big 12, averaging 10 points per game and shooting a ridiculous 43% on three-pointers. He’s been integral to Baylor’s so-far undefeated team. His teammate, junior guard Jared Butler, has gone as far as to call Flagler the “unsung hero” of the Baylor team.
“In the Big 12 you need more than two or three guys getting hot. You need somebody off the bench that’s going to help and give you that energy off the bench. Devonte Bandoo was that for us last year and Adam’s done a great job of filling that role,” Butler said. “The sky’s the limit for him. He could be a starter on our team.”
That’s not to say that the transition to Power 5 college basketball was easy for Flagler. Flagler was quick to acknowledge the difficulties that came with transferring from Presbyterian to Baylor but credited both his coaches and teammates for helping make the transition easier for him and for helping him fit in. Flagler said head coach Scott Drew and his staff helped him stay confident and upbeat during his redshirt year.
“They just always tell me to stay confident and that I belong here,” Flagler said. “They have done a great job of lifting me up every second, every practice, every game, and it’s been paying off. It’s keeping me positive but also keeping me humble.”
Flagler also said his teammates were integral in helping him adapt to playing his first competitive games with Baylor.
“They’ve been great and welcomed me in ever since I transferred,” Flagler said. “They’ve always told me when I was out there that ‘it’s just like practice. You’ve been doing this. You’ll be just fine.’ They encouraged me, and it really went a long way.”
With the help of his coaches and teammates, Flagler’s transition to Baylor has been seamless, helping form one of the deepest backcourts in the country that has led the Bears to a 14-0 record. Flagler has had no trouble fitting in with the unselfish culture that has defined Baylor’s recent success.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have teammates that look after each other, want to see each other do good,” Flagler said. “We always focus on if somebody is making shots at a consistent rate that we will try to continue to get them the ball over and over because they’re hot. We always look for each other.”
Flagler has taken this mentality to heart, and it has allowed him to flourish at Baylor. Associate head coach Jerome Tang told a story showcasing Flagler’s selfless nature after Baylor’s opening game against Louisiana where Flagler told coaches to run a set for freshman guard LJ Cryer instead of him because Cryer had the hot hand.
“Adam Flagler took a charge, and we were going to call a set for Adam to reward him for taking the charge,” Tang said. “Adam said, ‘No, run it for LJ.’ So, when you’ve got guys who love each other and want each other to be successful, LJ is learning so much about being a great teammate.”
As Butler said, if Flagler continues to play at such a high level, the sky is truly the limit for the sophomore guard. But for now, Flagler is just content to learn from his teammates and as his teammate Davion Mitchell put it, “share the sugar”.
“It’s very exciting having a variety of guards from young to old, being able to communicate and pick each other’s brain and just learn from each other while out there, while we’re in practice, while we’re in film,” Flagler said. “We enjoy seeing each other win, seeing each other do good and make shots and play defense, get steals. So, we all want to see each other win. That just carries on to the court and it makes a selfless team.”