- Candy Sweet Futures Drop 1 available until 7pm ET Thursday, March 10
- Jalen Duren shares his take on the Candy Sweet Futures Basketball Collection, his first college basketball season, and his professional future
To add some more excitement to the genesis of Candy Sweet Futures Basketball, Candy Community team member Matt Deerr hopped on an Instagram Live Q&A with Memphis star, and conference Freshman of the Year, Jalen Duren.
Duren is one of three players featured in the first of three Candy Sweet Futures Basketball drops. The drop runs through Thursday, March 10th at 7pm ET at Candy.com/SweetFutures.
Candy's Q&A with Jalen Duren
Matt Deerr started the conversation by highlighting the big Memphis win over 14th ranked Houston, and asking about the recent Memphis hot streak.
What changed in this Memphis team to spark this run?
“Just early momentum,” said Duren. “Coming together as a team, just knowing what the goal is.”
Who was the best player you went up against in high school? (Duren attended premier prep school Montverde Academy).
After a pause for thought (and a chuckle) Duren said, “I played against a lot of good guys. I can’t think of one specific one at the top of my head, but there were a lot of good ones.”
What drew you to choosing Memphis?
“The family atmosphere, there's a lot of love and it's definitely a basketball city for sure.” Duren said. “Coming here, just knowing I could develop my basketball game the most here.”
Not a lot of young guys get the chance to play for a former NBA player, let alone an NBA All-Star. Someone who’s been to the pros, but also succeeded at the pro level. Is there one thing that [head coach Penny] Hardaway is driving into this team?
“Just hard work,” Duren continued. “Keeping the tunnel vision mentality; going 1-0. Going on this run, he preached a lot of going 1-0 – staying focused on what we gotta do now and not worry too much about the future.”
What was your experience like winning that gold medal (as part of Team USA’s FIBA Americas U-16 championship team in 2019)?
“It was amazing, just a great experience. Like you said, not a lot of people can say that they’ve done that, leaving the country and going to fight for a gold medal was an amazing feeling,”
What was your biggest adjustment going from the high school level to the college game?
“Just understanding the level and difference in the game. Knowing where I can be effective and where I can help my team. That’s when it started to become easier.”
“Any [pregame] rituals or meals, anything like that?”
“I just listen to music, try to get my mind right and think about the game plan.”
Do you like playing road games better or home games better? I know some people like feeding off that road crowd and hearing the boos and what not.
“Both. I enjoy both honestly. I like going into the opponent's arena, and just feeling the energy kind of gets you hyped for the game. Playing at home and feeling the love from the fans, any atmosphere that gets really wild is a great atmosphere to play in because it just brings out the electricity in the game.” Duren continued, “I feel like a lot of people say that when the game is really huge, that's when it's at its best.
What are some of the favorite things to do off the court, when you get some time for yourself?
“I’m really a chill person, I’m out of the way.” Duren said. “I kind of just like to relax as much as I can, not doing too much. I’m probably listening to music.”
If you could play one-on-one with any basketball player ever, who would it be?
“That’s a tough one, one-on-one? Probably Mike. Michael Jordan.”
Is there a certain way that college players are talking about NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) opportunities behind the scenes? Is it a lot of collaborative idea-sharing or is everyone kind of heads down, focusing on their own stuff?
“I’ve been kind of out of the way, focusing on my own stuff.” That’s not the case for everyone, other guys have been kind of collaborating on what they can do, but for me, I’ve been staying in my own lane.”
What made you want to get into NFTs?
“I mean, when I first found out what it was, it really impressed me. I feel like it's the future and a great thing to get involved in.”
Have you guys played one-on-one with Penny at all?
“[laughing] I haven’t, but some of the guys on the team do once in a while. They play around a little after practice.”
Does Penny win?
“I’m not there for the whole game, I can't really tell. It goes back and forth between him and the guys, he still got it though.”