Jalen Duren, the top recruit out of the 2022 class has committed to Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.
Breaking: Jalen Duren, the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2022, has reclassified into the class of 2021 and committed to Memphis, according to @PaulBiancardi.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 6, 2021
Duren is an elite frontcourt prospect with freakish athleticism. His top five included Memphis, Kentucky, Miami, the NBA G League and the NBL, Australia’s pro league. At first, recruiting experts were predicting Duren would go pro. After the NCAA announced players will be paid for name, image and likeness, Duren’s decision was swayed.
While committing to Memphis, Duren also announced his reclassification to the 2021 class. Meaning, he will now play college basketball in the upcoming season. Duren’s intentions to play college basketball and reclassify is huge for college hoops.
First off, Duren’s presence in college basketball cannot be overstated. Standing at 6-foot-10 and weighing 230 pounds, Duren is capable of playing center or power forward thanks to his athletic ability. Due to his recent reclassification, Duren’s rank in the 2021 class has not been announced. More than likely, he will at least be within the top 3-5 prospects. Brandon Jenkins, a 247 Sports recruiting analyst, praised Duren in his scouting report,
Duren’s commitment shows the immediate impact of college athletes profiting off name, image and likeness. As mentioned, most experts first expected Duren to go pro rather than go to college. The NBA G League has taken major talents away from college basketball, such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. This commitment could be a sign of things to come, the G League and pro options for high school athletes could fade away.
Duren will make Memphis an immediate contender in the American Athletic Conference. In addition, the Tigers will likely compete in the NCAA Tournament after landing Duren. Memphis has returning key players like DeAndre Williams, Lester Quinones and Landers Nolley II. Adding an elite talent like Duren to play alongside established veterans should mean success.
Hardaway Cooking at Memphis
Hardaway has proven in his three years with Memphis that he can flat out recruit. In his second season, Hardaway landed several highly-rated recruits like James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa. Duren’s decision is as big as Wiseman’s commitment in the 2019 class. Wiseman was also the top recruit in his class, Hardaway beat out the powerhouse Kentucky for Wiseman as well. Just like Wiseman’s decision, Hardaway has beat Kentucky out for yet another elite recruit.
Furthermore, Hardaway could not be finished adding to the 2021-22 roster. Emoni Bates was ranked second nationally in the 2022 class, but recently announced his reclassification to the 2021 class. Bates was an internet sensation in the 8th grade, and was even compared to Kevin Durant. Similar to Duren, Bates was expected to go pro but he is now trending for Memphis. The Tigers lead for Bates in Rivals’ FutureCast at 75%. Adding Bates alongside a roster with experience and Duren could lead to a lot of winning.
Regardless of Bates’ upcoming decision, Memphis is now a noteworthy team for next season. Duren’s commitment is a massive victory for Hardaway and the Memphis program.
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