NBA Draft - Jalen Duren on joining Pistons: ‘It’s gonna be huge for me’

The Memphis big man spoke with Yahoo Sports NBA draft analyst Krysten Peek at the Barclays Center after being selected 13th overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Video Transcript

KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek, NBA draft analyst, here with the number 13 in the NBA Draft, Jalen Duren, heading to Detroit.

JALEN DUREN: Yeah.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Jalen, can you believe this moment is here? This is a long time coming. I want to say a year ago, I saw you at a high school gym. And we were talking about recruiting. And now you're in the NBA.

JALEN DUREN: Yeah, I mean, it's amazing. It's a blessing, honestly. I mean, it's still surreal. I'm just happy to be here, honestly, happy to even have made it to this level. Not a lot of people can even make it to this level. So happy to be here and excited to get started.

KRYSTEN PEEK: How fast did this year go by? Because you reclassified-- you're only supposed to be in college right now. And now you're entering the NBA.

JALEN DUREN: That's right.

KRYSTEN PEEK: How fast did it go by? And what did you take from your year at Memphis that prepares you for this moment?

JALEN DUREN: It went by super fast, honestly. Like you said, just not even supposed to be here right now.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Mm-hmm.

JALEN DUREN: And I learned a lot at Memphis, honestly, especially from the coaching staff. We had a great coaching staff of NBA minds who kind of taught me a lot of things about being a professional on and off the floor. So I feel like I learned a lot over there. And it great for me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Did you work out with the Pistons before this?

JALEN DUREN: I did.

KRYSTEN PEEK: How was that workout?

JALEN DUREN: It was actually my first workout. It was good. Built a good relationship with their whole entire organization. I mean, I felt good about it.

I mean, I knew that they liked me, and I did like-- I loved their program.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, clearly, you made a good first impression, right?

JALEN DUREN: Yes, sir-- yes, ma'am.

KRYSTEN PEEK: OK, and it's you and Jaden Ivey from this draft class--

JALEN DUREN: Mm-hmm.

KRYSTEN PEEK: --going to Detroit. You're joining Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey. I mean, you guys are going to be super talented as a young group. What excites you most about playing with that core?

JALEN DUREN: Like you said, just the youth-- the youth and the talent, being able to grow with those guys. Cade being the number one pick last year, having Saddiq Bey, having guys who were just amazing players. You know Jaden Ivey is who he is. He's done what he's done in college. And I know he's going to be a great player on the next level.

So me coming in and being able to play with especially good guards, it's going to be huge for me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: You were so great at passing out of the double team. I mean, do you envision yourself having that same freedom, trying to find the wings in the corner? And what do you think is going to be the biggest challenge and the biggest jump from college to pro?

JALEN DUREN: Yeah, definitely still-- I see that translating to the NBA level. I feel like my passing, even on defense-- I feel like my defensive ability is going to definitely translate to the NBA. And honestly, I don't--

KRYSTEN PEEK: Are you just excited to get there?

JALEN DUREN: Yeah, I'm just, like, this is crazy.

KRYSTEN PEEK: It's a lot.

JALEN DUREN: It's starting to hit me now.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah. Summer League is right around the corner.

JALEN DUREN: Mm-hmm.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Are you so excited to get back out on the court and play after this break?

JALEN DUREN: Definitely, definitely excited, especially, like you said, to kind of see what the young core is going to look like together.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, there were reports that you weren't 6' 10", you weren't 6' 11", you were maybe closer to 6' 9". Were you measured at any of these workouts? And--

JALEN DUREN: I was--

KRYSTEN PEEK: Like, what is your official--

JALEN DUREN: --I was measured at all of them.

KRYSTEN PEEK: What was your official measurement?

JALEN DUREN: So my official measurement-- I'm glad that you asked that-- was 6' 10" without shoes on, 6' 11" with shoes on. I feel like that's something that I wanted to show people. Because I don't know where-- I don't know, I don't know.

But I guess people just felt like I was smaller than what I am. I guess they just had to see me in person.

KRYSTEN PEEK: What are you most looking forward to your freshman year, and what goals do you have-- oh, sorry.

JALEN DUREN: Rookie year.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Rookie year. What are you most looking forward to in your rookie year, and what goals do you have?

JALEN DUREN: Just getting better and developing, and just becoming better than I was coming in, honestly. That's all it's about for me. And definitely some team success, and taking the Detroit Pistons back to where they were.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I like that. Well, Jalen, thank you so much for your time. And good luck next season.

JALEN DUREN: Yes, ma'am. I appreciate that. Appreciate that.