This has always been one of the big puzzles when assessing Duren’s potential as an NBA prospect. He looked physically ready for the league since he was about 15 or so years old. But like all other physical specimens, he has been relegated to playing between his ages for quite some time.
But Doreen, who wasn’t 19 until November, left for the Detroit Pistons in the league he had long belonged to. He was chosen thirteenth.
There were times not so long ago, when many saw Duren as the potential public choice among the top three. He was No. 1 in the 2022 recruiting class as a high school rookie before deciding to reclassify to 2021, rising to the rank, quickly becoming one of the top five recruits in that class.
Duren chose Penny Hardaway and Memphis after considering a few colleges along with offerings from the G League Ignite and the Australian National Basketball League. As a freshman, he was one of the first All-AAC team members and was named the best freshman of the conference. He started 29 games, averaged 25 minutes per outing, scored 12.0 points and best 8.1 rebounds in AAC and 2.1 pieces per game. Everything billed for Duren was announced and shown in full. A little rough? surely. incompatible? yes. But his athletic size – 6-foot-11, 250 pounds and 7-foot-5 wingspan – was impressive.
The reputation goes back for years.
Doreen from Philadelphia. He became one of the top men in the country while at the legendary Roman Catholic High School, one of the city’s historic basketball powers. As a high school senior, Doreen was commuting to Roman from his mother’s home in Delaware. While education was good at its game, lifestyle was unacceptable. The daily commute from Delaware to Center Cityville is no easy feat. Over time, he chose to transfer to Monteverde (Florida) High School, one of the premier prep schools in the country.
In the reclassification and commitment to Memphis, Doreen went for the post, but perhaps not the best for one season of college development. Memphis had talent, but she spent the entire year with a glaring gap in the sentry position. Given Duren’s obvious offensive skill set as a normal rolling man, this wasn’t an ideal scenario in the plot, let alone everything else. As you may have heard, parts of the season in Memphis have been a great sight. Those who were inside the program described the ongoing melodrama.
Doreen was there, in part, to work alongside assistant coach Rashid Wallace. He had less than half a season of instruction before the former NBA All-Star was discharged from the coaching staff.
So Doreen had neither a guard, nor a great coach. The year ended with a poor performance for the Tigers, regarding some great prospects, but still managed the No. 9 seed in the NCAA Championship. They put a second-round panic at Gonzaga before losing 82-78. It was arguably his worst two-man performance this season – seven points, 3 of 11 FGs, five rebounds, one block, four fouls, 19 minutes.
Despite it all, Doreen kept his lottery stock.
It’s all about the upside. And many still see Doreen’s positive trend as Pam Adebayo. Or maybe DeAndre Jordan-ish.
In terms of skill, yes, Doreen is somewhat limited. This is not a very modern big man rhinoceros. In math, about 73 percent of Doreen’s field goals came over the edge, and 35 percent came through (mostly short) jumpers. Of those shots over the edge, 20 percent were counter attempts. He averaged 3.0 attacking planks per game and shot 61 percent to replay.
In the NBA, especially early on, Duren’s production is likely to come as a regular rim, roll man, and in a back and jump position.
What may go unnoticed or be underestimated, though, is Doreen Kamar’s ability. Some Scouts say it’s much better than anything seen in Memphis. If so, it is not quite as one-dimensional as some believe.
Defensively, Duren holds a lot of value. It can switch multiple modes, is a legit edge protector from day one and will only get better with time.
It is worth noting that he has a lot of it. Doreen has always been a talent who looks and feels much older than her. Watch him walk through the draft stage and look like a finished product guy. In fact, it only scratches the surface. Duren’s material gifts give him a starting point unlike any other player in this draft. Now he’s grown up to do.
(Photo: Soobum Im / USA Today)