The 2023 NBA draft is set to take place June 22nd, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. While getting drafted into the NBA is no easy feat, it becomes even more remarkable when considering the limited number of Mainers who have achieved this basketball dream. 

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Thomas "Skip" Chappelle

A true trailblazer hailing from Old Town, Chappelle left an indelible mark on Maine basketball history. After leading Old Town to the 1957 Maine State Championship, Chappelle further honed his skills at Maine Central Institute before continuing his basketball journey at the University of Maine, where he showcased his talent and became a three-time All-Yankee Conference selection. In 1962, Chappelle etched his name into the history books when he was selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the 11th round (89th overall) of the NBA draft. After pursuing his NBA dreams with the Boston Celtics in 1962, he ultimately decided to return to his teaching and coaching job in Fort Fairfield.

Joe Harrington

Born in Phippsburg, Harrington made waves during his high school years at Morse High School, where he led the team to back-to-back state championships in 1962-63. Continuing his basketball journey at the University of Maryland, he played under the tutelage of renowned coach Bud Millikan. In 1967, the Boston Celtics selected Harrington in the 11th round (120th overall) of the NBA draft. 

Jeff Turner

A Bangor native, Turner took his basketball career to great heights. A standout player for Vanderbilt University, Turner's talents were recognized when he was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the 17th pick in the 1984 NBA draft. Turner's achievements extended beyond the NBA, as he was also part of the legendary 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team that clinched gold. Sharing the court with basketball icons like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Chris Mullin, Turner showcased his skills on the international stage. Over the course of his ten-year NBA career, which spanned from 1984 to 1987 and 1989 to 1996, Turner played for both the New Jersey Nets and the Orlando Magic. After retiring from professional basketball, he transitioned into a radio color commentator role for the Magic, bringing his expertise and passion for the game to the airwaves in the Sunshine State.

Now, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but the future of Maine basketball shines brightly with the promising talent of Cooper Flagg. Growing up in Newport, Flagg made waves early on in his basketball journey, earning the distinction of being named the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year as a freshman at Nokomis Regional High School. Flagg's exceptional skills and performances on the court did not go unnoticed, as he earned the title of the third-best prospect in the 2025 recruiting class. His continued growth and an impressive showing in the 2022 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup led to a re-ranking as the class's second-best recruit in August 2022. With such accolades under his belt, there's no doubt that Flagg's name is certainly on track to soon be added to the list of esteemed Mainers who have been drafted into the NBA.

As we eagerly await this year’s draft, let's celebrate the achievements of these remarkable Mainers. Their stories serve as a testament to the talent and dedication that exists within the state, reminding us all that dreams can be realized no matter where you come from.

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