Updated: Jun 11, 2022
A New York native, Johnuel “Boogie” Fland is on pace to add his name to the long list of legends to come out of The Empire State. A hyper-skilled guard, Fland is a natural shooter, tough defender, smart facilitator, and an improving floor general who is just scratching the surface of his full abilities as he continues picking up high major offers. After falling short in the state championship to Cardinal Hayes as a sophomore, Fland is eager to get back to work next season to help Stepinac finish what they started. Fland is also a key member of a deep 16U PSA Cardinals squad that is currently making noise on the Nike EYBL circuit.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Fland discussed the basketball culture in New York, his goals for this summer and next season, his NIL brand (get the latest Boogie Fland apparel at his storefront: https://boogie-fland.myspreadshop.com/), his off-court interests, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Boogie Fland, from New York, New York:
Pro Insight: Describe your basketball journey — how did you get to where you are today?
Boogie Fland: It actually started when I was younger. When I was three years old, my dad put a basketball in my hands, took me to the park and started flinging the basketball. Over the years I tried out for different teams, I went to Milbank for a little bit, then the New York Gauchos and I ended up with Coach Munch [at PSA Cardinals]. The journey, it’s been a very hard journey with the amount of hours I’ve put in. It’s crazy because I’m still at such a young age, but I’m glad because it got me to where I am today.
PI: What made you fall in love with basketball?
BF: I want to say Derrick Rose from watching the Chicago Bulls when I was younger. That’s why I wear #1. Derrick Rose is the one who has influenced me the most, I would say.
PI: What was it about Derrick Rose that got you hooked?
BF: Just the way he played. When I was younger I got every sneaker that he had. It was just everything, his MVP season with the Bulls. He just inspired me.
PI: Do you feel like you were naturally good from the start?
BF: I want to say I was a pretty good shooter, but I had to develop everything else over time, like the skill-set and everything that’s in my bag. I want to say shooting was natural to me, though. I feel like it was a talent given to me from God. There’s still room for improvement.
PI: Did you play other sports growing up?
BF: Oh, most definitely I played other sports. Whatever sport anybody needs me to play I’ll definitely play it to the highest level, like tennis, golf, etc. Like what Anthony Edwards [Minnesota Timberwolves] said, whatever sport anybody needs him to play he’s going to play it to the fullest. Tennis, golf, anything. I’m an athlete, all around. Growing up, I played baseball and I tried to get into football a little bit, but it didn’t work out. I’m a great football player, but it didn’t work out. I was a quarterback and wide receiver — people say otherwise, but I’m definitely a quarterback and wide receiver.
PI: Do you still play baseball?
BF: Honestly I might actually try out for the team at my school because I’m very good at baseball, too. I played shortstop, pitcher and left field. So I actually might try out for the baseball team.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
BF: No, but my little brother is up-and-coming and I’m working with him to get him better than where I’m at. I definitely do what I do because of him as well as my two baby sisters. Most of my family played basketball, like they’re known in New York City. I’ve got a big family.
PI: So members of your family are local NYC hoop legends?
BF: My dad was in the newspaper — he went to Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem and made it to the PSAL Championship in 2001. I want to say my uncle was also very good, as well as my aunt. I just had a whole family that influenced me.
PI: Describe the basketball culture in New York.
BF: It’s big. It’s crazy how we’ve got all of these different circuit teams, we’ve got Adidas, Under Armour, Nike, etc. It’s a great culture and to be part of a culture is big. Not everyone gets to experience what we are able to experience [regarding the culture]. It’s one to remember, I’ll definitely say that. Whether you take it pro or if you go overseas, you’re definitely remembered for being part of this basketball culture. It’s definitely one to remember.
PI: Have you received any advice from local players who have gone on to play college or pro?
BF: I’ve definitely spoken to many athletes and the main thing they told me was to, “stay in the gym. All of the hard work and hours can get you far. This basketball can take you far and get your family out of where you’re at.” They just told me to stay in the gym and one thing that stuck with me was they also told me to “be legendary” and when they said that it definitely clicked in my brain. It changed me from wanting to make it to the NBA to trying to figure out how I stay in the NBA. A lot of people have the dream of making it to the NBA, but then you make it and what are you going to do? You got to stay in the NBA, right? So it definitely changed my dream to wanting to stay in the NBA, not just make it.
PI: For those who aren’t super familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths on the court?
BF: I shoot very well, I’m a good ball-handler, a good PG, I get everybody involved, I’m unselfish, I love to pass and get my teammates involved. One thing I feel like I need to work on is my leadership. I want to develop that leadership role, that CP3 role. Like when you say something to your team they hear you. I feel like I’m a great defender and rebounding guard. I get that a lot. I do whatever is necessary to win. Whatever role the coach needs me to do, that’s what I’ll do.
PI: What about some improvement areas?
BF: Like I said, leadership. But also skill-set wise, there’s always room for improvement. It’s all about reps, like what you do on a daily basis. How well do you do it, mastering your craft, etc. There’s always room for improvement.
PI: What type of leader are you trying to be and what are you doing to improve that currently?
BF: Vocal leader, definitely. I do very well at leading by example, like bringing the energy and stuff like that. But definitely being more vocal, knowing how to talk to my teammates or to a certain person as well as knowing how to tell them what to do without yelling, how to get their attention, things like that. It’s the little things.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game you feel you don’t get enough credit for?
BF: I want to say I play really well in transition, I play fast. My passing ability, I pass the ball really well even though some people might say otherwise [smiles]. I don’t really feel like anything is underrated about my game, I feel like everything is known. I can do a little bit of everything, I play defense and play basketball the right way. I don’t try to do too much, I do whatever is necessary.
PI: You play with a lot of energy — where does that chip on your shoulder come from?
BF: It’s just about not having friends when you step on the court. We’re friends off the court, but when we’re on the court that dog comes out of me. When we step between the lines it’s just me and you, that’s the mentality I have when I’m playing. It’s just me wanting to win, having that competitive spirit with anything. It can be the smallest game and I’m like, “oh yeah I’m going to win this one.” It’s just the competitiveness in me. My willingness to win.
PI: Describe this past season with Stepinac — do you feel like you accomplished your goals?
BF: My number-one goal was to celebrate each win and loss with my teammates and become a family. And when I tell you that goal was accomplished at the highest level…a lot of people don’t know what happened in the locker rooms, like we were really a family. All of the TikToks we made and bonds we created, those are for life. Those are my brothers. I’m glad we celebrated every win and loss, we went to the state championship and lost to Cardinal Hayes, but I’m glad I went out with them and I’d do it again. Whatever they’d need, be it streetball or whatever, I would do it again with them. Anytime they need me I’d be there. That’s a family right there. This season brought us closer than ever and we just love each other over there.
PI: What are some of your goals for next season?
BF: To just keep the tradition going. You don’t want to stop there, you know? All of the incoming guys, you want to welcome them with open arms, get a good team chemistry going and win as many games as possible. Make sure it’s memorable and try to get the state championship again and win it this time. Develop that leadership role with my teammates, we’re going to need that next year without our seniors there, they were a big part of our leadership. So just all of that.
PI: You guys have some big shoes to fill after the departures of guys like AJ Griffin and RJ Davis — how are you trying to carry on that legacy?
BF: Get in the gym, like I was saying, the gym never fails you. So we’re trying to get in the gym and put in the hours that they put in and trying to keep that Stepinac tradition going.
PI: Have AJ or RJ ever shared any advice with you?
BF: I want to say everybody has shared the same thing, “play hard and get in the gym.” Their whole thing was if you put in the amount of hours needed to accomplish a goal, then you’re going to be great. Everybody’s thing is just staying in the gym, doing what's necessary to win, do what’s necessary for you to be great, do what’s necessary for the team, etc. It’s little things like that, that will take you far.
PI: Shifting gears, you’re a couple 2022 EYBL sessions in — talk about what you’re hoping to prove this summer.
BF: I want to prove that I’m one of the top players in the country, that I come from a winning team…we went 4-0 in session two and 3-1 in session one. And I want to prove that I’m going to do whatever I need to do to help the team win.
PI: You guys have a talented 16U PSA Cardinals team.
BF: We definitely have a talented squad with all my guys over there. Like I go from one family at Stepinac to another in PSA Cardinals. All my guys, shout-out WTO, that’s our new thing. They know what it is [smiles].
PI: How has playing for the PSA Cardinals helped you on and off the court?
BF: What’s crazy is it actually helped me get into that PG role. Growing up I had been considered a shooter, but I played 8th grade with PSA and they put me at PG and I started handling the ball more. After that 8th grade year I was like, “I’m going to need to improve on that because if I’m going to be playing this [PG], I’m going to need the improvement.” I got in the lab, got in the gym. Then in 9th grade I came back and Coach Munch trusted me. All of the work, all of the hours have taken me far. It got me on the rankings, I think I was #12. I kept putting in the hours and came back and did it again. It’s [playing with PSA Cardinals] helped me grow, helped me mature and Coach Munch has helped me mature. When we go out, he takes our phone to help us get locked in. People think taking our phones is crazy, but it’s really not, though. Like it actually gets the bond closer, gets you talking with your teammates and interacting with somebody. All day everyone is on social media looking at their phones like robots but no one actually takes the time to talk to somebody and ask them how they’re doing. It’s the little things and I feel like PSA brings the little things, brings the family. We always have those deep conversations, those ones that you don’t want to have, ask each other how we’re doing. People don’t actually talk about how they’re doing, they’ll tell you they’re good, but they aren’t really good. Sometimes people need that conversation of comfort, support and love. PSA provides all of that support. It even comes from the guys that don’t play at PSA anymore, they still come down, chop it up, tell us how they’re doing and ask us how we’re doing and if we need anything. It’s definitely a blessing. I’m glad to be where I’m at right now, to have the opportunities PSA has given to not just me, but everybody. Those are bonds that you have for life, like Coach Munch tells us that he still talks to people from the first-ever PSA team, like before PSA was even PSA. He says he still talks to them to this day and I feel like that’s a blessing and I want to be part of something like that.
PI: What do you feel like you add to the PSA program?
BF: I definitely add that energy and that funniness, but when I’m serious that we got to get stuff done then we got to get stuff done. I want to say I’ve got good energy, I’m great to be around, I love all my teammates, I love everybody. I just feel like I bring that good energy, funniness and goofiness.
PI: You took part in USA basketball minicamps last year — what did you take away from that experience?
BF: Oh my God, that experience…I want to say I picked the brains of every coach that was there. It definitely taught me a lot, playing against and with good players. It was definitely a blessing and the one thing I took from that was to keep working because there’s always someone that’s working in front of you. Someone is always trying to get to where you’re trying to get to. There are other good players out there, you’re not the only good player. So you’ve got to stay in the gym and you’ve got to love the grind because there’s somebody else who wants it more.
PI: Are you hoping to participate in any future USA basketball events?
BF: Oh definitely, I’m going back June 10th for 17U. The crazy part is I’m trying out for one year above because they don’t have one for my age. So I’ll be playing up, basically.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
BF: There have definitely been schools at my games during the EYBL sessions. There are schools contacting my coaches, but they’re not allowed to contact me [directly] until around June 10th. Recruitment has been going great, just picked up an LSU offer. I’m just trying to stay in the process, stay the course, show coaches that I’m willing to work, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win, the hustle plays and everything. I’m not just about scoring and even if I’m not scoring, I still play defense, still rebound and still get everyone else involved. Recruitment has been going great, it’s a good experience and good opportunity.
PI: Any programs you would like to hear from that you haven’t heard from yet?
BF: Not really. I don’t want to put anything out there. Just staying humble. Grateful for those who have reached out and are still reaching out as well as all of the schools that have offered. Just appreciating all of the things that are coming my way — all of the blessings God is bringing me.
PI: Did you ever feel like you’d be in this position where you’re getting all of this attention from college programs?
BF: The crazy part is coming into 9th grade I didn’t know anything about what an offer was or rankings. I didn’t know nothing about anything. It’s still new to me to this day, I’m still trying to get used to it and process everything. I’m grateful for everything that has come my way, but the crazy part is I really didn’t know anything about offers or rankings coming into high school. I’ve just started doing my research on everything and it’s still new to me.
PI: You’re 18th in the latest ESPN rankings for your class — what are your impressions of rankings now that you’ve learned more about them?
BF: Honestly, I’m grateful, but some of the pros right now, if you look back to their high school years, they weren’t all of that ranked. Jordan Poole [Golden State Warriors] was like a 3-star, Donovan Mitchell [Utah Jazz] was unranked and you see how talented he is. It’s definitely a blessing to be on it, but you see the pros. Donovan Mitchell is a prime example, unranked coming out of high school, he put in the hours, worked hard, did what he had to do and he’s there.
PI: Would you consider playing in the G League/OTE/overseas in lieu of college?
BF: Not really, I’m trying to go to college and stay the course. I’m fine where I’m at. I’m grateful for everyone that’s come into my life and I’m trying to keep my circle small. I’m not trying to expand nothing.
PI: What kind of system do you feel best fits your strengths as a player?
BF: Like I was saying on that note of doing whatever is possible to win, you’ve always got to adapt to what the school that you’re going to does on a daily basis. I like transition basketball, a team that plays together and likes each other on and off the court. Those are the main things: transition basketball, play defense, playing together, unselfish. Things like that.
PI: How do you see your role at the next level?
BF: I want to say more developing into that PG role. The CP3 role of knowing when to score, knows when to pass, knows where his teammates are, etc. Everything else I want to say I have, I’m just trying to master. But I want to say that leadership role, that’s what I want to have at the next level. I would say that will take you far either way.
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in your school of choice?
BF: Definitely if it’s a winning program, but also education-wise off the court. My plan B is technology, I’m very good at tech. I want to be a creator. Computer Science, be a creator and develop games. I’m a very good gamer. So definitely education-wise, they’ve got to have a good tech program that’s something I want to pursue.
PI: Elaborate on that a bit — what type of tech interests you?
BF: I want to be a creator. I want to make games. I’ll say Fortnite for instance, it wasn’t as big as it is now. That game was put out there and people started playing it, but as it’s gone on they’ve added more things to it, like that’s what I want to do. I want to create games that people have fun in. It won’t just be competitive because nowadays you’ve got people competing for money every game, but I want to make a game that’s fun for everybody and be a creator. I’ve got a big brain and I want to use it.
PI: What games or systems are you into?
BF: I’ve got it all. I’ve got a Playstation, PC, Xbox, etc. I play Madden, FIFA, MLB, Call of Duty Warzone, NBA 2K, etc. I like everything.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
BF: I bring that funny energy. Let’s say there’s that one quiet person, I’m including them and we’re all having a good time and good vibe. I bring the dance moves, nobody can touch me on the dance floor. I bring that good energy. That person you want to be around, that’s who I am.
PI: Any players you like to compare yourself to or model your game after?
BF: LaMelo Ball, people say I act like him. I get that sometimes [smiles]. Because you saw him on shows and stuff like that, he’s a very goofy and funny person. People like to say I’m funny and goofy like him.
PI: What motivates you to work hard?
BF: Just the why of everything. Why do I get up every day? Why do I wake up at 6:00 am to go to the gym? Why do I do all of these workouts? Like why do I do what I do? Why do I love basketball? Little things like that. And putting in the hours, basketball can take you so far, it can do so much for your family, etc. I just ask myself, why do I do what I do? Yeah, it’s basically the why.
PI: Talk about your recent NIL deal — how did that come about?
BF: So I saw an Instagram post of Mikey Williams signing with Puma and I didn’t know how that worked. I was thinking in my head like, “he signed with Puma, how are you able to do that in high school just like me?” so I didn’t pay as much mind to it. Then that’s when the laws of NIL were brought up to people in my circle, like my parents, coaches and mentors. They were just telling me a law got passed where high school players can make money off their name, image and likeness. Then I realized like, “oh so is that why Mikey Williams got to sign with Puma?” and they were like, “yeah, because now it got passed” so I was like, “okay.” Then they brought up the idea of working with Spreadshop. They wanted to do a deal with me and we thought it was a good thing and a good opportunity. And on behalf of the whole NIL thing, I want to say it’s an opportunity to make money for our hard work. Not just when you get to the NBA, but now it’s also possible in college and high school. It’s a great opportunity for players to keep going. All of those hours, the hard work, the “why” moments, etc. The NIL helps you say that you’re doing something right, like to keep going. It’s that extra oomph that’s saying you’re doing something right and you’re moving in the right direction so let’s keep doing this or that. It makes you keep wanting to do it more.
PI: What type of business skills have you been able to learn?
BF: I’ve definitely learned a lot of business skills like where to put my money. I’m trying to invest and I’m not just thinking about right now, I’m thinking about the bigger picture. It’s crazy, it’s helped me grow so much and think about so many different things that I wasn’t thinking about. It’s preparing me for the greater good.
PI: Is business booming with your merchandise?
BF: Oh definitely, definitely. I appreciate all of the support and people buying shirts. I’ve got some new ones in the making and I’m excited about it. This design [wearing shirt] is the first design, it’s got my face right here [along the top] and says Boogie [along the side] with a couple pictures of me. I’ve definitely got some new ones coming. I’ve also got a brand, it’s called Be One Fam. It’s like Boogie Fan One [BF1], but it also stands for be one, be yourself, be a leader, etc. It has meaning to it.
PI: Are you designing the shirts?
PI: Have you always been into fashion?
BF: Oh yeah, definitely [laughs]. I'm definitely into fashion and when I want to get drippy I can get drippy, but sometimes I just take it cool. Wear my Nike shirt with some slides, not too crazy. But when I want to go out, I definitely put on a good drippy fit.
PI: How would you compare your on-court vs. off-court personality?
BF: I want to say I like to keep the two different. On court, I’m a dog, I’m in you and I don’t care if we’re friends. Off the court, you’re going to see a different side of me. But on the court it’s competitive and I’ll definitely tell you that you’re in for a dog fight. Off the court, I want to say we’re friends, do TikToks, chilling, etc. I want to say I keep those two separate. On the court, that’s where everything happens and where all of the hard work comes in. You’re in my way to feed my family, that’s how I look at it. So I try to keep the two separate.
PI: Being a highly-ranked player — do you feel any internal or external pressure to succeed?
BF: I’m going to tell you one thing, if there’s no pressure while you’re playing then you’re not really in it. You’ve got to have pressure when you’re playing basketball to be really in it. Somebody told me that once and that definitely stuck with me, “if there’s no pressure while you’re playing then you’re not really in it.” You’ve got to love the pressure, love taking those last second shots, love going for those 50-50 balls, love all the hype, love all of the audience, etc. because if you’re trying to make it to the pros that’s what it’s going to be. There’s going to be a lot of pressure, people chirping, people in your ear, there’s going to be the whole crowd chanting “DE-FENSE,” everything. So you’ve got to love and embrace it.
PI: Do you feel like you have a target on your back?
BF: Definitely, being highly-ranked comes with a target on your back. People that are ranked 60th or 30th, they’re all trying to get to that number-one spot. There’s definitely a target on my back, but that only pushes me to keep going forward and keep working.
PI: How have you been able to stay grounded despite all the attention?
BF: Just being humble and being myself. I’m not cocky at all and I try to stay true to myself. I just control what I can control, not try to do too much. Just being myself, that’s all I’ve been doing. Just a relaxed guy, nothing too crazy.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
BF: Oh my God, I’m definitely buying a Tesla [smiles]. That’s the first thing I’m buying. I’m buying my mom a house, buying everybody a house in all of my family, a million at least is going into investments, get what I need to play my games and then just invest the rest I guess. Take what I have left over and invest it. But a Tesla is number-one, I need to get a car.
PI: What are you most passionate about outside of the game of basketball?
BF: Definitely Netflix, I’ve got to watch my shows. Flash, Supergirl, all of my shows. Definitely gaming and if I’m not doing that then I’m eating and if I’m not doing that I’m sleeping. I go outside and go have a good time, [too]. Us basketball players spend so much time working hard that we forget that we’re still kids and we have to go out and have some fun here and there.
PI: What do you and your friends do outside?
BF: We either go to the Sky Zone, to the movies, roller skating, etc. We’re doing everything, we’re not sticking to the same things, we’re doing everything. We’re going out and being kids, doing all of that [smiles]. And yeah, I want to say I’m the best skater. Roller skater, ice skater, whatever you need me to do I’ll be doing. One thing I got into is golf and I don’t know why. Golf takes your mind off things. I want everybody to get into golf, everybody. If you’re watching this, get into golf, seriously.
PI: Are you out there hitting the links or going to Top Golf?
BF: I’m going to Top Golf [laughs]. I’m going to have a good time, eat some food, golf, etc. I’m going to Top Golf.
PI: Are you reading any books right now?
BF: Definitely, I like reading anime and stuff like that. I watch anime, too. Some people don’t really like anime, but I feel like if they really gave it a chance they’d like it. It’s one of those shows and books that you like [if you give it a chance].
PI: What anime shows are you into?
BF: Naruto. That’s the only one that I’ve watched. I don’t feel the need to watch another [anime] show, it’s Naruto. That’s the show everybody knows about. I’d say that’s the top one.
PI: If you had one hashtag to describe yourself, what would that hashtag be? Why?
BF: I said it before [smiles]. It’s #WTO, we the ones. I just say that not in a cocky way, but we’re the ones. I’m that one, you know what I’m saying? Anything I do I’ve got to be number one. Anything I put my mind to I’m going to be number one. It’s this whole idea of I want to be perceived as that guy. That guy who gets a bucket, that guy that does what’s necessary, that guy that listens, that guy that’s respectful, that guy that’s a teammate, that guy that’s supporting, loving, caring, etc. I just want to be that guy, you get what I’m saying? That guy that you turn to when you’re upset, anything you need me to be, I’ll be that guy.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
BF: I want to be remembered for being legendary. I’m going to leave it at that, be legendary. I want to have a statue of me on the outside of wherever I play. I want the fans to love me. I want to be remembered as a legend. And yeah, legendary. That’s a big word, legend, that word goes far and I’m going to leave it at that. I want to be legendary.
Watch the full interview with Boogie, here