Memphis basketball's Jalen Duren, a likely lottery pick, declares for NBA Draft

Memphis Tigers center Jalen Duren dunks the ball against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during their second round NCAA Tournament matchup on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

Memphis basketball freshman Jalen Duren declared for the NBA Draft on Monday, an expected move after a dominant freshman season with the TIgers..

Duren, who announced the news on his Instagram feed, is projected as a lottery pick by scores of national media outlets.

Duren was named AAC Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the all-AAC First Team. The 6-foot-10 center led Penny Hardaway's team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.1).

He also blocked 61 shots, third-most ever by a Memphis freshman behind only Keith Lee and Lorenzen Wright. Duren ranks in the top 40 in Division I with 2.1 blocks per game.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23.

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Duren is the fourth Tiger from the 2021-22 roster to declare for the NBA Draft. Josh Minott, DeAndre Williams and Lester Quinones previously announced they were testing the draft waters while also maintaining their collegiate eligibility. Minott indicated he would not return to Memphis, and Williams and Quinones are keeping their options open.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have Duren slated to go No. 9 overall to the San Antonio Spurs in their latest mock draft. Sports Illustrated's Nick Crain slots Duren at No. 12 (Oklahoma City Thunder) and The Sporting News' Kyle Irving has him going seventh to the Sacramento Kings. CBS Sports' Kyle Boone sees Duren going eighth to the Spurs.

Duren started 29 games and averaged 25.3 minutes per game (fourth-most on the team). The four games he missed were either injury- or COVID-related. Duren finished the season shooting 57.9% from the field, which is the best rate of any Tigers player with more than 200 field goal attempts since Tarik Black in 2011-12 (68.9%).

Reach sports writer Jason Munz at or on Twitter @munzly.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Jalen Duren declares for 2022 NBA Draft: Memphis basketball center