The prestigious Pangos All-American Camp, an invite-only event featuring the top high school prospects in the nation, returned this summer after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year. Pro Insight was on hand to evaluate the event and caught up with Jalen Duren of Montverde Academy (FL) and Team Final (PA). Duren was selected to the Top-30 Cream of the Crop Game and averaged 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while showcasing his imposing frame, plus-passing, and interior presence throughout camp.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Duren talked about his background, his development as a player, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Jalen Duren, from New Castle, Delaware:
Pro Insight: What have been your impressions of this year’s Pangos All-American Camp?
Jalen Duren: It’s a great event. Prestigious camp, everybody knows about Pangos. A lot of great guys have come through here. I feel like everybody here is really competing, trying to have fun and I love it.
PI: Who are some players you’ve enjoyed playing with or against?
JD: I mean everybody. The guys on my team are great guys, I’ve got Pop Isaacs, Zion Cruz, Justice Williams, a couple younger guys. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of competition. Getting up and down, jumping, dunking, and just having fun.
PI: Talk about your background.
JD: I’m from Cheron Hill, PA. I’m just a regular kid, just happen to be 6’10”, I play basketball. Normal family, middle-class family. Played football and basketball growing up, pretty normal.
PI: What positions did you play in football?
JD: I’m one of those kids who played all around the defensive line. Played a little bit at wide receiver, but I really just liked to hit people. One of those kids who’d just like to go and play around.
PI: When did you stop playing football?
JD: 6th grade I think. I didn’t play that long, I got a little too tall for it.
PI: Was football your first love or do you like both sports equally?
JD: I mean as of right now I love basketball. I would say back then I really didn’t love either of them, I was just playing to have fun and just figuring out what I wanted to do. I happened to fall in love with basketball and with the work. It’s just so fun. It’s fun to me, going up and down, competing, there’s nothing better than that. That’s why I said I like this camp because this is one of those camps that a lot of elite guys come to and I get to get after it with them and make each other better. That’s what it’s all about. So I’m doing that for sure.
PI: How do you feel like you’ve held up against the bigs at the event?
JD: I’m always holding my own...I’m not familiar with those other two guys you mentioned (Jaxon Kohler and Adem Bona), but Dereck Lively II is a great talent. A lot of people ask me about him and I’m going to keep saying the same thing, Dereck Lively II is a top-five player in our class  without a doubt. He’s an amazing player, I get to go against him in practice and I get to play with him which is amazing. Going up against the other bigs here is making me better at my game. I get to show some of my other skills and I know they’re out there doing their thing, too.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
JD: Um, track and field. My cousin runs track, female track runner at Howard University. Other than that everybody else is kind of in their own lanes.
PI: What are your current measurements?
JD: 6’10” and 245 pounds.
PI: Where do you get your height from?
JD: My mom is pretty tall for a woman, she’s like 5’7” and my grandfather is about 6’2”. I don’t know where 6’10” came from, honestly. I’ve got a couple of tall people, but nobody as tall as me.
PI: Describe your game — what are your strengths?
JD: I like to dominante. I’m not one of those guys who needs to score, I’m not trying to score 100 points. I like to facilitate, I like to pass the ball a lot. I like to play defense and I like to get better at defense. I just like hooping honestly, I’m not going to say one specific area. I like doing it all. I’m not going to say I won’t score, I will score, but it’s not my main thing.
PI: What are some improvement areas?
JD: Everything honestly. My all-around game. I want to become better at every aspect of the game. I want to learn more about the game. I can’t really say one specific area because I work on everything on both ends of the floor, honestly.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
JD: My passing for sure and my ability to guard on the perimeter are the two things people don’t really notice as much. People are starting to notice it, especially my passing and defending, but I want people to realize that more. That I am a great passer and I am a great defender. That’s something I’m trying to put out there, too.
PI: You’ve flashed your shooting ability over the years — talk about yourself as a shooter.
JD: Like you said, I always felt like I’ve had great touch…it’s taken a lot of reps. I had to get a lot of reps up. Working on it a lot. Especially with USAB, that’s kind of playing a role with them. I always try to do what I can do to make the team better, but behind the scenes I’m getting up a lot of shots. Working on everything, honestly.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
JD: I dropped my top 11 a while ago (note: has since dropped his top-five: Kentucky, G-League Ignite, Memphis, NBL, Miami). Kind of just speaking with all of those schools and a couple of pro options to see what’s best for me — where I can develop enough to get to that next level. I’m just weighing my options. I’m not really focused on one area too much, I’m just trying to see where I can develop the most.
PI: How do you feel about pro options?
JD: I mean it’s cool, it’s a very interesting topic. Seeing a couple guys go through there [G-League]. For me I feel like people think that just because of the money, that’s kind of where kids are going to go, but I’m not really one of those kids who just focuses on the money. I mean it’s cool, but it’s not something that’s going to alter my decision. If it’s somewhere I can develop then yeah, but I’m looking at both college and pro options because for me I feel like I need to focus on development and not really the next paycheck, you know what I mean?
PI: What are you looking for in your program or organization of choice?
JD: Somewhere where I’m going to get better. Where I’ll develop. Where the staff will be able to get me to that next level and push me and really just kind of help and teach me more about the game and more about the off-the-court business life. Kind of getting me ready for that next level.
PI: Describe your on-court vs. off-court personality.
JD: On the court sometimes I can get real intense because of the passion in the game. Sometimes I just have fun with it, like a lot of snarling and a lot of fun. Love competing. Like in this type of atmosphere I just have fun with it, honestly. Try to get up and down, lot of smiles, have fun with my guys, and compete. Off the court I’m pretty laid back, really chill. I don’t really do too much. I’m not really in the scene like that, I just kind of sit back and do my own thing and workout. On the court I’m loud, energetic, talk a lot, and get all over the place.
PI: What are some of your interests off the court?
JD: Nothing much, I really don’t do too much. Listen to music, watch TV — normal 17-year-old honestly. I can’t say I do anything out of the ordinary. I’m not too flashy, I’m just regular. I love to play basketball, go workout, come back home, and chill.
PI: You watching any TV shows currently?
JD: A lot of people laugh at me, but I watch Friends. That’s the only show I really watch, I get it on my iPad…even here if you ask my roommate — Dereck is my roommate — I’ll go sit down, get my iPad, my snacks, and watch Friends and chill.
PI: Which character would you be on Friends?
JD: I don’t even know how to answer that…they’re all so unique. I don’t know, I’m probably my own character.
PI: Describe yourself in just a handful of words.
JD: Funny. Laid-back. Chill. Cool guy.
PI: What do you hope to be remembered for on and off the court?
JD: Just a great player, honestly. Just a guy who gave it all I got. At the end of my career, hopefully it’s a long time from now, I want to be remembered for a lot of things — being good on the court, being a role model off the court — a lot of things.