Montverde Academy star Jalen Duren brought an end to a recruitment that featured numerous twists and turns on Friday, committing to Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.
Duren ultimately picked Memphis over a group of finalists consisting of Kentucky and Miami, as well as professional opportunities in the NBA G League and the NBL. Duren’s collegiate favorite was tough to get a read on throughout the course of his recruitment, but Memphis won out at the end of the day.
Duren was originally thought to be a heavy favorite to land in the professional ranks straight out of high school. However, the new NIL rules drastically shifted the Philadelphia native’s line of thinking, as he can now play college basketball and make just as much — if not more — money as he would have made playing in the G League or NBL given the new opportunities elite college athletes have available to them.
“It eliminated the money factor,” Duren said in an interview with On3.com. “Because now a decision can’t be made strictly off of finances. The NIL leveled the playing field. It made it where some athletes are going to be fortunate to make more in college than they would in the professional route.”
Duren has also toyed around with the idea of reclassifying into the class of 2021, which seems all but certain to happen at this point. If Duren does make the leap, his commitment gives Memphis a team that has the ability to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
“He is a total monster in the low post who commands a double team and always knows where it is coming from,” 247Sports’ Brandon Jenkins said in his scouting report of Duren. He is more physical, athletic, and bigger than his peers which sums up to him being a pro in the making. He runs the floor, can explode off it where he shows value as a conscientious rebounder. His touch around the basket, passing instincts and ability to leap multiple times is noteworthy.
“He is a motored-up workhorse who has an affinity for playing hard. Defensively, Duren is alert while in help side and alters or blocks shots with great elevation and timing. He has a high ceiling that gives many scouts the reason to believe he can achieve all-pro status someday and have a long career at the highest levels of the sport.”
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