The 2022 NBA Draft could very well feature a distinct Memphis flavor, especially if Jonathan Givony’s latest rankings are any indication of what’s to come.
Givony, ESPN’s draft analyst, released a list of the top draft-eligible prospects and ranked them 1-100. Three Tigers were included in the top 70 of the first iteration of Givony’s list.
Freshman center Jalen Duren is slotted at No. 4, behind only Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Duke’s Paolo Banchero and the G League’s Jalen Hardy. Sophomore wing Earl Timberlake, who transferred to Memphis from Miami, comes in at No. 23. Senior forward DeAndre Williams is ranked 70th.
The 6-foot-10 Duren is the 5th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2021 and committed to the Tigers earlier this month. Timberlake transferred to Memphis after an injury-plagued freshman season with the Hurricanes, but he still averaged 9.3 points and five rebounds in seven games. Williams, in his first season at Memphis, was second on the team in scoring (11.7) and rebounding (5.8).
The only teams with more players than the Tigers currently in Givony’s top 100 are Gonzaga and the G League’s Ignite squad. Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Tennessee and UCLA also have three players apiece on the list.
Memphis is scheduled to host Alabama on Dec. 14, before traveling to Nashville where it will face Tennessee. Crimson Tide players appearing on the list include J.D. Davison (No. 11), Jahvon Quinerly (No. 60) and Keon Ellis (No. 83). Vols players on the list are Memphis native Kennedy Chandler (No. 13), Josiah Jordan-James (No. 37) and Justin Powell (No. 66).
The Tigers are still awaiting a decision announcement from 5-star guard Emoni Bates, who is set to reveal his plans for the upcoming season at 5 p.m. Friday. Bates is the 4th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2021, but the 17-year-old will not be eligible for the 2022 draft.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.