Elite sophomore Jalen Duren focused on what he can control
Could five-star sophomore big man Jalen Duren, the No. 2 ranked player in his class, be too good for the country's top college programs to spend time recruiting?
At times, that seems to be the case. With signs pointing towards high schoolers being able to enter the NBA Draft beginning in 2022, that schools are worried the 6-foot-10 monster at Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic could go directly to the NBA is the only explanation for him not having offers from all of college hoops top programs.
Duren does list offers from Maryland, Miami and Penn State while hometown Villanova has shown interest. So, he's not flying totally under the radar and for now, he's not stressing who has or hasn't offered.
“I don’t try to pay too much attention to (offers)," Duren told Rivals.com. "I know that if coaches feel like I’m a good fit for their school, then they will go ahead and offer. I don’t try to lose time focusing my mind on that right now.”
Duren is also doing all he can to keep the NBA out of his mind and focus on what is directly in front of him.
“I guess some people do see (going straight to the NBA) to be a possibility for me in the future," said Duren. "But for me, I don’t focus on that. I mean you do think about it because it’s a dream and a great opportunity, but it’s not something I’m basing my future off of. I have to stay level-headed and try to be the best player I can be.”
As physically impressive as a 10th grader can be, Duren is powerful and athletic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He dominates in the paint and is showing soft touch and developing footwork. Getting in the gym and getting better has been a huge focus and the work is showing.
“Just all around I’ve developed a lot," said Duren. "I got in the gym every day during the summer and tried to make a big change between my freshman and my sophomore year. It’s been helping and I’ve been improving. I’ve been working on a lot and I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people with what I’ve got and what I can do now.”
Earlier this fall, Duren took an unofficial visit to Maryland and the Terps left a good impression.
“It was fun, it was cool." said Duren. "I saw their football team and one of my teammates, Hakim Hart, has committed to play there and I got to see him and catch up with him. I got to see the campus a little bit too.”
With plenty of time between now and his graduation in the spring of 2022, Duren is keeping an eye on all that is available to him and has a pretty basic list of what's going to be important to him once he and schools across the country get more serious about his recruitment.
“I just want to play under a program and a coach that is going to push me to be the best that I can be," said Duren. "No matter where that is, I want a coach who is going to love the game as much as I do and who wants to push me to work.”