5-star C Jalen Duren looking to reclassify; potential big development for Miami

Jalen Duren, one of the top 2022 prep prospects in the country, is expected to reclassify and enroll in college for the fall of 2021, according to a report from Adam Zagoria.

This is major news; Duren is a high-level, one-and-done prospect. He ranks as the No. 1 center in the 2022 class, currently; the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Duren is the No. 2 overall prospect in that class. Duren projects as top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

However, that could all be accelerated, very quickly.

Duren, who was set to play for prep powerhouse Montverde (FL) Academy, has plenty of options. In terms of college programs, Duren is considering Miami, Alabama, Villanova, Michigan, Auburn, UCLA, Kentucky, Memphis and Penn State.

Of course, the options extend beyond that group of schools. Duren is also considering playing in the G League or the Australian NBL. Duren has been offered $1 million to play for the G League team next season, according to a source of Zagoria. This would be a notable boost over what 2020 5-star wing Jalen Green got to play for the G League Ignite.

In recent years, American prep/draft prospects — like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton — have found success playing in the NBL, too.

As Zagoria notes, Miami recently hired DJ Irving (April 2021). Irving is an alum of Philadelphia Roman Catholic, Duren’s former school. Additionally, Irving worked with the AAU program Team Final, which has been a pipeline of sorts from the northeast to Miami: Lonnie Walker IV, Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton.

After a strong start to his tenure at Miami, Jim Larranaga’s program has fallen on hard times the last few years. The Hurricanes are coming off their third straight losing season; despite the arrival of a promising 2020 recruiting class and the return of Chris Lykes, Miami went just 10-17, the nadir of Larranaga’s tenure.

Over the last few months, a plethora of talented players have transferred out of the program, including Lykes (Arkansas), Earl Timberlake (Memphis) and Matt Cross (Louisville).

The addition of Duren to an otherwise pretty good 2021 recruiting class would be significant. That’s the type of talent add that would allow the Canes to jump a level or two in terms of ACC tiers, while also opening up a return opportunity to the NCAA Tournament.


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