The Jalen Duren Blog: Eagles at No. 1, Quarantine Life, 'Friends' and Recruitment

Jalen Duren

Jalen Duren is an SI All-American nominee and one of the top overall players in the country, regardless of class, with schools like Kentucky, Arizona, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Howard, Miami, Memphis, Michigan, UCLA, Maryland and Villanova, among many others, all giving chase. The 6-foot-10 forward anchors the paint for Montverde (Fla.) Academy, the top team in the country. Now he’s agreed to give SI All-American exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a blog.

What’s up world, this is Jalen Duren kicking off my new Sports Illustrated blog, giving you a look into what my life is like on and off the court.

About a week ago we got back from the St. James event down in Virginia, and I felt like we played really well. In certain situations, I felt like we could’ve played better and handled things better, but we learned a lot and grew. That’s the most important part.

The tournament was put together really well, in terms of keeping everyone safe. They took some great precautions so we all felt comfortable.

There was a lot of great competition, and that’s what I loved the most.

Since we’re in COVID, you don’t get events like this too much, and so far this season we’ve been able to overpower teams with our talent. It was good to be able to play teams with a lot of talent and adjust in order to win games.

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Individually, I was happy with how I played. I just try and go out every game and dominate and do whatever it takes for my team to get the win.

I’m my own worst critic, so there were things I feel like I could’ve done better, but I’m just working on those things going forward.

It was cool to make the Sportscenter top plays too!

That was a first for me. I didn’t even get to see it live, my coach and my mom told me about it. It was amazing to get see myself up there at No. 2!

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Last summer was really productive for me because it gave me a chance to work on my game individually without being able to play in events.

I feel like my game grew in every way, from shooting to thinking the game through in different situations. I just understand the game on a whole new level now!

I know everyone wants to know about my recruitment and I’d have to say it’s been going well. 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.

Jalen Duren
Jalen Duren dominated at the St. James NIBC Invitational last week. (Photo: St. James)

I’ve done Zooms with Memphis, Arizona, Kentucky and Miami so far, but since the season has started we’ve been doing more texting.

Zooms are cool, but, of course, I’d rather things be in-person. I’ve adjusted though.

I’m just taking my time with my recruitment. No rush with anything for me.

School is a lot different this year, as it is for everyone I’m sure.

The basketball team quarantines together in the house and we do online classes.

It’s boring being quarantined sometimes, but we’re all used to it by now.

We wear masks everywhere and we get tested before every game.

That test is pretty rough too! I hate it. I know we have to do it, but it’s not easy.

My grades are looking really good right now. The teachers are really helpful here and I’m enjoying all of my classes.

At Montverde we have a lot of classes that are outside of the box, which I really like. Like in one of the classes we learned about all of the different types of sciences. That’s always interesting to me.

I just like to learn new things.

OK, like every teenager I listen to a lot of music, but I’m different because I like to listen to old school music. I love Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass. Of course, I listen to Lil Baby and NBA and those guys too.

I just like a variety.

When I’m not studying or working in the gym, I watch my favorite show. No one would probably believe that “Friends” is my favorite show but I love it! Haha!

I’ve seen the whole series multiple times, and I’m watching it again now.

OK, guys I want to thank you for tuning into the first blog, but I’ve gotta get back in the gym now. Make sure you check back soon for my next blog and stay safe out there.

Don’t forget to follow Jalen Duren:

Instagram: jalenduren