By Collin Atwood
On Aug. 11, 2021, Kyle Filipowski was named to the 2021 USA Basketball 3×3 Under-18 World Cup team. Filipowski, along with Keyonte George, Eric Dailey Jr. and Gradey Dick, traveled to Debrecen, Hungary to face-off against the best young basketball players in the world.
The six-foot-eleven power forward was honored to wear “USA” across his chest as he and his teammates breezed through the tournament, undefeated, to win the gold medal.
Coming next fall, Filipowski, also known as “Flip,” will sport the colors blue and white again, but instead his jersey will read “DUKE” after signing his National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the Blue Devils this past November.
He expects to bring nothing less than his gold-standard level of play to what the Duke basketball community calls “The Brotherhood.”
Filipowski, who is from New York, currently plays at Wilbraham and Monson Academy (WMA) in Massachusetts, which is less than 10 miles away from the Hoophall Classic host, Springfield College. He is in the midst of his senior season following an abbreviated 2020-21 campaign due to COVID-19.
Filipowski was the first person to give his commitment to the Blue Devils and coach Jon Scheyer, who will take over as head coach next season following the retirement of Mike Krzyzewski.
WMA has a history of getting forwards to commit to a blue-blood program. In 2016 Wenyen Gabriel signed his NLI with Kentucky and became a Wildcat. After two years at Kentucky, Gabriel went undrafted and signed with the Sacramento Kings. He is currently playing in the NBA G League.
Flip received offers from several top schools in the country including the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina. Despite all of the attention, Flip’s choice was simple.
“Duke had no cons for me. [They’re] the best of both worlds, academic wise and athletically,” he explained. “Coach Scheyer and I, we’re on the same wavelength with the vision of Duke during his time coaching next year and into the future.”
There is only one downfall of joining the Blue Devils and it comes on a personal level for Filipowski.
For the first time, Flip and his twin brother Matthew, who recently committed to Harvard University, will be playing on seperate basketball teams.
“It’s going to be a weird feeling not playing beside my brother anymore, but we got each other where we needed to be for college,” Filipowski said.
When you’re nearly seven feet tall, 220 pounds and are enormously talented at basketball, growing up with a mirror image of yourself seems like an unfair advantage. Through countless one-on-one games and practices, the brothers were able to assist one another in developing their skill sets.
“Neither of us would be the type of players we are without the other one,” Filipowski said. “We’re very fortunate to have each other growing up.”
Those practices, along with his hard work and dedication, are what led to Flip being ranked at No. 10 on ESPN’s Recruiting Database.
He started to receive more recognition when he transferred from Fordham Prep to WMA. Under the direction of coach Mike Mannix, Filipowski was able to make that jump in his game towards being a great player.
“Coach Mannix put me in a great opportunity to be successful on the court along with my teammates,” Flip said.
That opportunity did not get wasted as Filipowski and the Titans went on to win the 2019-20 NEPSAC-AA (New England Preparatory School Athletic Council) Championship. Now that WMA is off to a hot start, Filipowski wants to get back to that champion status after missing the chance last year.
With an experienced team and a versatile player who can defend any position and shoot from behind the arc in Filipowski, the Titans might find their way back to the championship game.
Wilbraham and Monson Academy has already punched its ticket into the 2022 Hoophall Classic at the Birthplace of Basketball this January.
Filipowski and the Titans made the short trip to Springfield College two years ago and he was able to showcase his talents on one of the biggest high school stages in the world.
“I really have not seen an atmosphere like that in high school basketball before,” he said.
Not only will Flip be able to show his improvement and how talented he is, but he will also get the chance to reunite with his teammates from the FIBA World Cup in Hungary. George, Dailey Jr. and Dick (all ranked in the top 25 of ESPN’s Recruiting Database) will be participating at HoopHall this year.
“It’s going to be a nice little reunion,” Flip said, “I know there’s still going to be a lot of love there.”
The undeniable talent that these athletes possess played a huge role in their success in the tournament, but defending the gold medal would have been impossible without the chemistry these four built.
“We all get along together very well, too, and I think that’s what made us win the gold medal,” Filipowski said.
At such a young age, Filipowski has already played on the biggest stages of the world at the high school level and he has not disappointed. He’s not afraid of the attention and shines brightest when people are watching.
“To be honest, I just know that’s where I belong; the bigger game, the biggest stage.”