Physical specimen with a 7-foot-5.25 wingspan, 250-pound frame, and impressive leaping ability that allowed him to make an impact around the rim at both ends despite being one of the youngest players in college basketball.
About Jalen Duren
Jalen Duren is a long, athletic big man with an NBA-ready frame whose ability to catch lobs and block shots made him a key difference maker at Memphis in what was supposed to be his senior year of high school. An early bloomer whose tools have stood out since middle school, Duren emerged as one of the top prospects in the high school class of 2022 very early on. Ultimately deciding to reclassify into the class of 2021 to play for head coach Penny Hardaway at Memphis, Duren entered his freshman year facing high expectations despite being one of the youngest players in the country.
Averaging 12 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks over 25.3 minutes per game, the 18-year-old anchored one of the better defensive units in the country and helped the Tigers navigate the bubble while earning All-AAC firstteam and Rookie of the Year honors.
• Standing 6-foot-11 with a 250-pound frame and a 7-foot-5.25 wingspan, Duren’s intrigue from an NBA perspective could not be much more apparent as he has impressive dimensions for a center, let alone one who will not turn 19 until November. He matches his impressive size with very good leaping ability and the mobility to hold his own at times when switched out onto the perimeter.
• Leading the Tigers in scoring, Duren got touches consistently in the post, but did his best work as a finisher where his size and athleticism made him a valuable lob threat, prolific offensive rebounder, and a threat to earn some easy shots beating opposing big men up the floor. On his best nights, it was no hard to forget that he could have just as easily been suiting up at the high school level as his physical tools overwhelmed opposing big men at times at the collegiate level. While he is still early in his development as as scorer and decision maker, he navigated around defenders with timely footwork, made some reads out of short rolls, and even tossed in some jumpers in limited doses.
• Using verticality effectively and sometimes going out of his area to block shots at the last possible moment, Duren had some very impressive stretches protecting the rim and covering ground defensively last season. He struggled at times with foul trouble, was more physical some moments than others, and was inconsistent handling switches as he still faced a steep learning curve in terms of his technique from his junior year of high school.
• Getting a chance to create his own shot but thriving as a catch and finish threat operating off the ball, Duren’s efficiency and productivity spiked when Memphis’s guards were able to create for him consistently.
• Finishing above the rim effortlessly, Duren averaged 1.44 points per shot around the rim in the half court [93rd percentile]. He ranked among the national leaders in dunks displaying a huge catch radius for lobs with room to gather. He could have been even more efficient but is still learning how to pick and choose his spots in traffic and has room to improve as a free throw shooter.
• Getting some opportunities to operate in the post, step out to the midrange, and make reads in hand off or short roll situations, Duren had some intriguing moments delivering passes on the money with good touch, looking fluid on some of his jumpers, and being assertive using his frame in the post. Averaging 0.78 points per Post Up possession [40th percentile], he looked somewhat sped up at times and had some issues with turnovers as his skill level is still developing into a consistent asset.
• Impacting the game defensively with his ability to block and challenge shots around the rim, Duren often made up for his lack of experience with his sheer physical tools. Spiking some shots and blocking several dunks, his highs were very high last season as a rim protector.
• Using verticality well in many instances but committing some aimless fouls as well, finding a body on the glass consistently some nights but getting beat to balls on others, and looking much more comfortable sliding his feet on the perimeter some plays, there were a lot of things Duren showed the ability to do in small doses defensively. As impactful as was, he was still early in the process of learning how to play to his potential consistently.
Profile by Synergy Sports