Memphis' Jalen Duren to Enter 2022 NBA Draft, Will Sign with Agent

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 18, 2022

Memphis center Jalen Duren (2) reaches for the ball near Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren (34) during the first half of a second-round NCAA college basketball tournament game, Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer

Potential lottery pick Jalen Duren is headed to the NBA after just one season with the Memphis Tigers.

Duren told Jonathan Givony of ESPN he is entering the 2022 NBA draft and plans on signing with an agent. The big man averaged 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.7 percent from the field in his one collegiate campaign.

The 18-year-old seemed destined for the NBA for some time.

Givony noted the Pennsylvania native made waves as a 15-year-old when he was a member of the USA Basketball team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. He also graduated high school a year early and played his first game for the Tigers at 17 years old.

The 6'11", 250-pound Duren arrived at Memphis as a 5-star prospect and part of the school's No. 1 class in 2021, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

However, the results for the Tigers never quite lived up to the hype. Memphis struggled with consistency on the way to a No. 9 seed in the NCAA men's tournament and was eliminated in the second round by Gonzaga.

Fellow 2021 5-star recruit Emoni Bates appears to also be on the way out of Memphis considering he is in the transfer portal.

Despite the Tigers' overall inconsistency, Duren flashed his potential with nine double-doubles throughout the season. One of them came in the team's first-round win over Boise State in the Big Dance, and another came when he posted 21 points and 20 rebounds in an American Athletic Conference tournament game against UCF.

"I'm looking forward to showing NBA people how much better I've gotten with my skill level and what my game really is with my touch around the basket and shooting the ball," he said. "There are a lot of little things I can bring an NBA team with my effort, energy, mindset and work ethic. I'm big on winning. I'll do whatever it takes to get the W."

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Duren to be the No. 12 overall pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in his most recent mock draft.