Memphis, Tenn. has landed a top prospect for the 2019 recruiting class in Jalen Duren, who is ranked as the No. 1 point guard in the nation by 247Sports.
6:43 p.m. Eastern
- Insider on basketball recruitment.
- In 2014, he joined ESPN.
- University of Delaware graduate.
Basketball Talent Scouting
- ESPN.com’s National Recruiting Director
- Coached at the Division I level for 18 years.
- Wright State’s former Horizon League coach of the year
On Friday night, Jalen Duren, one of the best high school basketball players in the country, revealed his commitment to Memphis. For the next season, he will reclassify into the 2021 class and join Penny Hardaway’s program.
Duren selected the Tigers above Miami, Kentucky, the NBA’s G League, and the NBL in Australia on a final list that also included Miami, Kentucky, the NBA’s G League, and the NBL in Australia.
“Memphis’ developing element drew me in,” Duren told ESPN. “I believe their strategy for me, both on and off the court, is the greatest match for me — to assist me as an all-around player on the court and in the business world. Penny Hardaway, the coach, and I developed a wonderful friendship. He was a terrific NBA player who helped others achieve their goals. We had some excellent discussions, and I have faith in him. I saw how he interacts with people and found him to be a really modest person.”
Duren was impressed by Hardaway’s recent addition of Hall of Famer Larry Brown as an assistant coach.
Duren stated, “I talked with him a couple times.” “He has been a highly successful NBA head coach who has accomplished everything. I’m excited to pick his brain and collaborate with him and the rest of the team.”
Duren, a 6-foot-10 big man from Delaware who spent last season at Montverde Academy in Florida, was rated second in the 2022 class. He just finished leading his Team Final grassroots program to the Nike Peach Jam title in July. Duren scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots in the championship game victory against Brad Beal Elite.
Duren averaged 13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 15 games with Team Final in July.
Duren also assisted Montverde Academy in winning the 2021 High School Nationals, the school’s fifth national title in the last nine years. Duren scored nine points and nine rebounds in the championship game, and in three games in the Nationals tournament, he averaged 12.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks.
He also earned a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, leading the team to victory. In six games in Brazil, Duren averaged 10.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks.
From a power standpoint, Duren was the most dominating player this season. No one could compete with his physical prowess. It all begins on the glass, where he rebounds with an NBA-ready body, carving open space with his girth, immense strength, wide shoulders, and solid hands. He’s a two-handed rebounder with explosive bounce who can forcefully put back misses with dunks. He also blocks shots with a threatening demeanor.
He obtains deep position on the block and may go to a drop step or a leap hook. Duren is a powerful and competent screener who can complete ball-screens. From 12 feet, he has a consistent shooting touch, and he has shown a good turnaround shot on the block. In his passing game, he also possesses underappreciated vision and precision.
His offensive range and repertoire down low as a conventional center or power forward will need to be addressed in the summer, but Duren should be a potential double-double player at Memphis, a one-and-done prospect, and a first-round selection.
Since overall No. 1 prospect James Wiseman chose Memphis in 2019, Duren is the Tigers’ highest-ranked commitment. Hardaway has three five-star prospects in the 2019 class, one five-star prospect in the 2020 class, and another five-star prospect in the 2021 class.
Duren joins Johnathan Lawson and Josh Minott, as well as Sam Onu and John Camden, as three ESPN 100 prospects in Hardaway’s 2021 class. Earl Timberlake (9.3 PPG at Miami), Tyler Harris (7.5 PPG at Iowa State), and Chandler Lawson are among the Tigers’ high-major transfers (4.4 PPG at Oregon).
Three returning starters from the team that defeated Mississippi State to win the NIT Championship, Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams, and Lester Quinones, are among the newcomers.
Memphis is now comfortably within the preseason top 25 thanks to Duren’s arrival. The Tigers are also still interested in Emoni Bates, the top recruit in the 2022 class who stated earlier this week that he will reclassify to 2021.