Memphis freshman Jalen Duren will participate in the 2022 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Monday.
“My plan is to sign with Agent Chafie Fields from Wasserman and get in the NBA draft,” Duren said.
Duren, number 7 on the ESPN 100, was named AAC Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-AAC after averaging 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 25 minutes.
“Going to Memphis was a fun experience,” Duren said. “It was a big challenge. Doing the NCAA tournament and playing in front of the whole world on national television. Huge game atmosphere. I learned a lot and it really helped my growth and development. During the season we bonded with a lot Injuries dealt we couldn’t get the chemistry right on the pitch getting everyone back it helped the team and my game I started to understand the game better help the defense how the opponents were guarding me I have that more than realized The season went on and that allowed me to do a lot more.”
The youngest member of a United States basketball team to win a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Brazil with an average of 10.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 18 minutes, Duren burst into the NBA at the age of 15 -Radar screens.
Duren, currently the youngest collegiate player currently set to be drafted, was the top recruit in his class when he decided to graduate high school a year early and enroll in Memphis two weeks after winning Team Final to a Nike EYBL – championship. He also led Montverde to a high school championship at the Geico Nationals in April.
“I’ve always been a big fan of development,” Duren said. “Playing as a younger player helped me grow. I was at a point in high school where I wanted a bigger challenge, pushed further and played against older guys. We won a lot and there was nothing left, what I could get out of there.”
As a 17-year-old, Duren played his first games in college and faced a steep transition from high school as Memphis got off to a slow start, 9-8. He played a major role in his revival, winning 12 of the next 13 games to enter the postseason where Memphis lost a close game to Gonzaga in the Round of 32 while Duren was stymied by foul troubles.
“The coaches in Memphis: Penny Hardaway, Larry Brown, Cody Toppert and Rasheed Wallace have all helped me in many different ways to progress in terms of understanding NBA terminology and the expected atmosphere in the league,” he said. “That played a big part in my decision. Everyone on the coaching staff comes from the NBA. That was my big goal going to college and seeing how much NBA knowledge there is on the staff was appealing and helped my development helped a lot. It was a great step for me in the end.”
Duren has likely cemented himself as a top 10 draft pick with his stellar combination of physical tools (6-11, 250 pounds, 7-5 span), strength, explosiveness, and emergent skills unmatched in this draft class are. Duren was a major force in color at both ends of the ground for Memphis, whether it was smashing the glass, protecting the rim or ending wildly around the basket, giving him a ready role to start his NBA career. The fact that he also shows insights into the view of the court, the passing game and the shooting range gives him many advantages considering his age.
“I’m looking forward to showing the NBA folks how much better I’ve gotten at my skill level and what my game really is, with my touch around the basket and shooting the ball,” he said. “There are many small things I can bring to an NBA team with my dedication, energy, mindset and work ethic. I’m very interested in winning. I’ll do anything to get the W.”
Duren says he studies the tendencies of many NBA players to help them transition to the next level.
“A guy like Evan Mobley — he was a big influence on the Cavs defensively — brought height, length and mobility. I want to be that guy early on, have the same kind of influence. I also study guys like Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic,” he said. “The ball goes right through them and they can really pass. My game fits that. I can defend 1-5. Safeguard and turn on ball screens and read all the pick and rolls. I developed all these things very well. I love I also watch Joel Embiid, Giannis, KD.”
The NBA Draft Combine is scheduled for May 16-22 in Chicago and the draft on June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.