Donovan Clingan of UConn Eenters the Professional Ranks After Leading the Huskies to Back-To-Back National Championships

NBA talent Donovan Clingan of UConn has submitted his draft application. Clingan was essential in the Huskies’ victory as they became the first repeat national champions in college basketball since 2007. The 7-foot-2 big, a defensive threat, flourished as an effective inside scorer and shot-blocking machine after taking on a more significant role in the 2023–24 campaign.

During the 2023–24 season, Clingan averaged 13 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 63.9% shooting from the field in 22.5 minutes per game. In the tournament, he elevated his play to a new level. He was especially impressive in the Huskies’ Elite Eight victory over Illinois, as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks.

Clingan, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2022, made his debut as UConn’s backup center in the 2022–2023 campaign. He showed promise in just 13.1 minutes per game while playing behind Adama Sanogo. Early in the 2023–24 season, Clingan was limited by a foot injury. However, once he got going, he showed himself to be one of the most dominant centers in the country, earning a spot on CBS Sports’ third team All-American roster.

NBA Draft Prediction for Donovan Clingan

Clingan is ranked No. 11 in CBS Sports’ 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings. However, in a recent mock selection by Kyle Boone, he came in at number five.

“Illinois went 0-for-19 in the Elite Eight in shots contested by Donovan Clingan, which turned out to be one of his most dominant performances of the year,” Boone stated. “”Cling Kong” — is a monster on the defensive side of the floor whose timing and anticipation on that end has changed the trajectory for the reigning champion Huskies. He’s gone from surefire lottery pick to potential No. 1 overall.”

If all goes according to plan in terms of health, he will be called up early in the draft. Clingan’s offensive potential is restricted as he only made two 3-pointers during his college career. However, his defensive agility allows him to not only survive in the NBA but also thrive as an impact player.

Effect On UConn

Coach Dan Hurley of UConn will have to start again with a lot of his starting lineup. Removing three players from a national championship team and guiding the Huskies back to the top of the sport was exactly what he did for the 2023–24 season. Without Clingan as a defensive stopper, completing a three-peat will undoubtedly be more challenging. Samson Johnson, a standout center in his own right, has participated in the program. Yet, he is 6-foot-10 rather than 7-foot-2. The Huskies also anticipate losing their starting backcourt, which consists of Stephon Castle, Cam Spencer, and Tristen Newton. Although Castle is a lottery pick, he has not yet declared for the draft.

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