By ADAM ZAGORIA
Memphis on Tuesday officially announced the signing of Jalen Duren, who was the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2022 before he opted to reclassify.
The 6-foot-10 Duren announced his commitment last Friday, choosing the Tigers over Miami, Kentucky, the NBA G League and the Australian NBL.
“Jalen is an unbelievable talent, and he is an even better person,” Tigers coach Penny Hardaway said. “We are extremely happy to have him in a Tigers uniform.”
Duren played last season at Montverde Academy in Florida, where he helped the squad to the 2021 High School Nationals championship and averaged 14.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 62.9 percent from the floor. He averaged 12.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in three games at Nationals and had nine points and nine rebounds in the title game.
Memphis remains in the mix for Emoni Bates, who was No. 2 in 2022 before he opted to reclass.
“I know how it is with this whole process thing,” Duren said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I wouldn’t put too much more pressure on him than he probably already has. Definitely if he decides to come play I know it would be amazing for college basketball, but that’s my guy off the court besides basketball, anyway.”
The addition of Duren — and potentially Bates — will amp up the pressure on Hardaway and his staff to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
In three seasons at his former school, Hardaway is 63-32 with no NCAA Tournament appearances although the Tigers won the NIT title last year. “I think that we want the pressure,”
Hardaway told me in 2019 for Forbes. “…The pressure of having really good players and then putting that on us, and say, hey, you need to get here, we understand what that means, and we want that. That means that you have a great team and you have the opportunity to win a national championship when they start putting that type of pressure on you.”
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