Tyreek Duren taking lessons from vet to Sixers

Tyreek Duren taking lessons from vet to Sixers
July 8, 2014, 9:00 am
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Tyreek Duren and Jameer Nelson are two of four Big 5 players to record 1,500 points, 450 assists and 200 steals (USA Today Images)

There are only four players in the history of the Big 5 to score 1,500 points, dish out 450 assists and get 200 steals in their collegiate careers.

Of that four, Jameer Nelson, the former St. Joe’s star and 10-year veteran with Orlando and Tyreek Duren from La Salle, work out together. Moreover, both players are hoping to land with a new team in the NBA sometime soon.

Nelson, of course, should have little problem latching on with a team. Testing the free-agent waters for the first time in his NBA career, the former All-Star and rock steady point guard has drawn the interest of New Orleans, Brooklyn, Detroit, Miami and New York.

Duren, on the other hand, is looking for opportunities. Not selected in last month’s NBA draft, Duren, a four-year starter at La Salle and star with Neumann-Goretti in South Philly, will play for the Sixers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m trying to make the best of it,” Duren said. “It’s big to be here. Growing up I looked up to a lot of the Sixers like [Allen Iverson] and then to be in this gym, it’s kind of unbelievable.”

A 6-foot point guard, Duren may have to be very impressive to grab a spot with the Sixers. After all, the team has reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, at point guard, along with third-year player Tony Wroten. Plus, 5-foot-10 point guard Casper Ware performed well with two 10-day contracts at the end of last season and has stood out on defense in Orlando.

Where Duren may stand out is with his three-point shooting. At La Salle he shot 40.8 percent from deep in his senior year and went 105 for 264 (39.8 percent) in 65 games over his last two seasons.

Defense could be Duren’s ticket, though. Averaging nearly two steals per game at La Salle, Duren’s quickness will help him during the next two weeks with the Sixers. If Duren can stand out in the team’s up-tempo style, he has a chance.

And that’s where the workouts with Nelson come in. If there is one thing Duren has learned from the NBA vet, it’s there are no easy days. Every play matters, Duren said.

“Just the work ethic and how NBA players take everything serious,” Duren said of the lessons learned from Nelson. “Every rep, every drill you just have to max out.”

There’s more, too. At 6-foot and a bit under 200 pounds, Duren will be going up against a lot of bigger point guards.

“The main thing with him and the biggest difference in the both of us is that he’s a lot leaner than me,” Duren said. “He’s very muscular and that’s one thing I want to pick up -- I want to get my body right.”

Otherwise, Duren says he and Nelson have “completely different games.” Except for the fact that Duren, Nelson, Scottie Reynolds and Doug Overton are the only Big 5 players to get 1,500 points, 450 assists and 200 steals in their collegiate careers.

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