Duke basketball still has time to recruit best 2022 big man

Potential Duke basketball recruiting target Jalen Duren (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Potential Duke basketball recruiting target Jalen Duren (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A top post prospect should be near the center of the Duke basketball radar.

Although freshman Mark Williams provided a promising six-point, six-rebound performance in a home win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night, the lone center on the 2020-21 Duke basketball roster is obviously still raw. All in all, he hasn’t posed a consistently significant threat to opponents this season.

Assuming Williams sticks around long enough, though, he ought to develop into a formidable force in Durham at least by the time his junior year rolls around. Nevertheless, given the 7-footer’s restrictions — stemming from knee tendinitis — it wouldn’t hurt if Mike Krzyzewski and his staff were able to add, say, the No. 1 center in the 2022 class to that 2022-23 squad.

Well, in June, the Blue Devils did reach out to Montverde (Fla.) center Jalen Duren, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound five-star who ranks No. 2 overall and No. 1 among big men on the 247Sports 2022 Composite. Granted, there’s been no word of any calls since; on the other hand, with no offers out to the class, there’s still no telling which guys Coach K & Co. will officially target.

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Plus, while some of the dozen or so juniors who heard from Duke in the summer have committed elsewhere or announced favorites, Duren’s recruitment appears to remain wide open. In fact, the well-spoken Philadelphia native, whose 247Sports Crystal Ball remains void of predictions, hinted this week in his SI blog that new suitors still have plenty of time to enter the loaded race:

“I know everyone wants to know about my recruitment…I don’t have a list or anything like that, but I have offers from schools like Kentucky, Arizona, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Howard, Miami, Memphis, Michigan, UCLA, Maryland, Villanova, and a bunch of other schools…I’m just taking my time with my recruitment. No rush with anything for me.”

A recent scouting report on the Duke basketball recruiting interest

Last week, after watching Jalen Duren dominate down low for the No. 1 team in the country at the St. James NIBC Invitational in Springfield, Va., 247Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins suggested the battle at the top of the individual 2022 rankings is now a legit one. However, Jenkins also implied the G League is a legit contender for Duren’s services after high school:

“While most entered the season believing the gap between Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren was wide, Duren thought otherwise…his play showed. Match his physically imposing frame with his relentless motor, elite athleticism, and feel as a passer, and the end result is a prospect who may never step foot on a college campus. His tools translate to the professional level today…”

Professional possibilities aside, the Duke basketball recruiting heavyweights could decide Jalen Duren’s game is simply too potent not to pursue.

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