In just his second year at Michigan, Juwan Howard inked the No. 1 recruiting class for the 2022 cycle. The on-court success and culture at Michigan, coupled with Howard's personality and approach on the recruiting trail has him poised to stack up even more talent in 2022.
Sports Illustrated's director of basketball recruiting Jason Jordan caught up with Jalen Duren of Florida's Montverde Academy to talk about the flattering comparison Howard has for the blossoming big man.
Duren is a brute 6' 10" forward with post moves for days, a deadly mid-range game, the ability to create off the dribble for himself and his teammates and elite rebounding and shot blocking ability. Those attributes have drawn consistent comparisons to former NBA star forward Chris Webber, who was named a finalist for the Hall of Fame last month.
And, yes, quite naturally, Michigan coach Juwan Howard is heavily pumping that angle.
“The first time I ever talked to him he said that about Chris Webber,” Duren said.
Howard, who currently has the No. 1 recruiting class for 2021, would know, the two teamed up on the famed Fab Five Michigan squad from 1991-93 and played in the national title game both years, falling to Duke in 1992 and North Carolina in 1993.
Howard’s assessment wasn’t the first time Duren had heard the comparison; not by a longshot.
Still, while he was aware of Webber, he wasn’t as familiar with his game since he wasn’t even born during Webber’s most dominant years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
From 1994-2003, during Webber’s healthy NBA seasons he averaged 22.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks a game.
“I went and watched clips of him, and I had to agree,” Duren said. “Just the way he moves and his versatility; I saw what people meant. It's an honor to get that comparison. It was cool to hear from a guy like Coach Juwan who played with him.”
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This past season, Duren was arguably the most dominant full-time paint scorer in easily the toughest league (National Interscholastic Basketball Conference) in the country. He averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game for the Eagles who won the GEICO Nationals title. Duren’s numbers are even more impressive considering he plays on a roster loaded with more than eight high major Division I prospects.
Michigan made Duren’s final 11, which he released last week.
In addition to the Wolverines, Duren is considering Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami, Penn State, UCLA and Villanova, as well as pro-options with the G League and the NBL.
“I’m just taking my time with everything right now,” Duren said. “Just gathering all the information I can to make the best decision when the time comes.”