National Players of the Year Lead Teams to Undefeated Seasons

ATLANTA (March 8, 2024) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today that Sarah Strong of Grace Christian School (Sanford, NC) and Cooper Flagg from Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL) have been named the winners of the 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Player of the Year Trophy, recognizing them as the most outstanding high school basketball players in the country.

“Sarah and Cooper’s dedication and skill on the court have rightfully earned them the prestigious title of Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Player of the Year,” expressed Eric Oberman, president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We couldn’t be more excited to acknowledge their exceptional achievements and extend our best wishes as they embark on the next chapter of their basketball journey at the collegiate level. Their remarkable success is a testament to their talents and relentless work ethic.”

Strong is the top-ranked player in the class of 2024 in ESPN rankings and becomes the first player from North Carolina and Grace Christian School to win the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year award.

Strong finished her senior season by leading Grace Christian to its third consecutive state championship with a perfect 30-0 record. The 6-2 forward averaged 21.0 points, 16.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. 

Over the last three years, she helped her team post a 91-4 record, winning the last 41 games it played. During this span, the team won 80 games by double figures and the NCISAA 1A, 2A and 3A state titles in succession. She is undecided as to where she will play at the collegiate level.

She is a member of the 2024 USA Women’s Junior National Select and the 2024 USA Women’s Nike Hoop Summit teams. She scored 46 points, tying her for second in scoring in the 2023 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup, helping the USA claim a seventh-consecutive gold medal.

“I am humbled to be recognized as the 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Winner,” Strong said. “I would like to thank God for blessing me and I thank the selection committee for recognizing me and the other amazing finalists who are elevating the sport we love.  I am grateful for my family & their continued support.  I would also like to recognize every coach and teammate who has contributed to my basketball journey, from those in my earliest days at Club Baloncesto Alcobendas in Spain to my current teammates at The Strong Center & Grace Christian School in Sanford, NC.  Muchísimas gracias!”

Flagg is ESPN’s top-ranked boys’ high school player in the 2024 class. He is the fifth player from Montverde to win the award, following Dariq Whitehead (2022), Cade Cunningham (2020), RJ Barrett (2018), and Ben Simmons (2015).

The 6-9 forward has led his Montverde team to the No. 1 ranking in the country and a 30-0 record. He has averaged 16.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. The Eagles will finish the season at the High School Nationals in Brownsburg, Ind, April 4-6.  The Duke signee will become the fifth Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year to join the Blue Devils. Whitehead, Barrett, Austin Rivers (2011) and Shane Battier (1997) are the others. 

A native of Newport, ME, he is a member of the 2024 USA Men’s Nike Hoop Summit team. In 2022, he represented the United States at the FIBA U-17 Basketball World Cup, leading the team to the gold medal. He became the youngest player named the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year for his efforts in 2022.

“I would like to thank Jersey Mike’s and the Naismith selection committee for recognizing me as the Naismith High School Player of the Year,” said Flagg. “It is a great honor that wouldn’t have been possible without my parents, coaches, and teammates, who motivate me every day to get better.”

The Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Player of the Year Trophy was first presented in 1987. The winners are selected by a group of basketball journalists from around the country who form the Naismith Awards national high school voting academy. The selections were based on outstanding on-court performances during the 2023-24 high school basketball season.

“This season’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Players of the Year are being awarded to players who have shown they are the best in the country throughout the season in Sarah and Cooper,” said Jeff Hemschoot, vice president of marketing at Jersey Mike’s. “We proudly extend our congratulations on behalf of Jersey Mike’s and our dedicated franchise owners nationwide. Their commitment and skills have thrilled their fans all season, and we wish them the best at the next level and beyond.”

Each winner will be awarded with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy, produced and provided by Herff Jones, leading provider of graduation and educational products and services designed to inspire achievement and create memorable experiences for students. A replica trophy will be donated by Herff Jones to the players’ high schools. 

Past notable boys winners have included Lisa Leslie (1990, Morningside High School, Inglewood, California), Chamique Holdsclaw (1995, Christ the King, Middle Village, New York), Candace Parker (2003, Naperville Central, Naperville, Illinois) and Maya Moore (2006 and 2007, Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia). Notable boys winners are Jason Kidd (1992, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, Alameda, California), Kobe Bryant (1996, Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, Pennsylvania), LeBron James (2003, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron, Ohio) and Derrick Favors (2009, South Atlanta High School, Atlanta).  The 2023 winners of the award were Judea ‘Juju’ Watkins (Sierra Canyon High School, Los Angeles, California) and Isiah Collier (Wheeler High School, Marietta, Georgia), both of whom are student-athletes at the University of Southern California. 


Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include AXIA Time, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,300 locations open and under development nationwide, serves authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs on in-store freshly baked bread — the same recipe it started with in 1956. Passion for giving in Jersey Mike’s local communities is reflective in its mission statement “Giving…making a difference in someone’s life.” For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Media Contact:
Mallory Hadaway, Atlanta Tipoff Club 
[email protected]
(256) 682-0599