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UConn Star Officially Declares For NBA Draft

Donovan Clingan recently declared for the NBA draft.

Donovan Clingan is set to leave UConn after two seasons. The seven-foot center officially declared for the draft on Friday. He announced this decision just four days after he led the Huskies to a second title.

Clingan, a sophomore from Bristol, Connecticut, announced his decision on social media.

UConn Star Officially Declares For NBA Draft

Not A Surprise

Huskies coach Dan Hurley has hinted at times that both Clingan and freshman guard Stephon Castle will be NBA lottery picks. Clingan was a key recruit for Hurley. A prospect who decided to stay home‚ after leading Bristol Central High School to a state championship. As a freshman Clingan played a backup role to Adama Sanogo, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 Final Four, averaging 19.7 points and 9.8 rebounds.

The Stats

Clingan stepped into a starting role this season, but he struggled early with foot injuries. This would cost him five games. He finished the season averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He upped his game in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks during UConn’s six-game run that ended with the sixth NCAA title.

Clingan scored 11 points in the championship game. He was tasked with guarding Purdue’s 7-foot-4 star Zach Edey. Edey finished with 37 points and 10 rebounds. Clingan’s defense allowed his teammates to stay with Purdue’s key 3-point shooters. The team held the Boilermakers to 1 of 7 shooting from beyond the arc in the Huskies’ 75-60 win.

Making Connecticut Proud

Unlike talent-ridden states like California and New York, Connecticut is a rare recruit spotlight. The select few usually choose to play for other nearby schools like UMass or Providence. However, Clingan went on to defy the odds. The hometown kid chose to play for the UConn Huskies and went on to contribute to their back-to-back national championships. He also emerged as their best player during the tournaments. When the team needed a star, Clingan stepped up and delivered.

What’s Next?

A recent mock draft had Clingan being selected by Philadelphia with the 16th pick in the NBA Draft. If this becomes reality, Connecticut’s proximity to Philly makes it easy for the UConn fanbase to rally around Clingan’s team despite the regional rivalry. The Sixers would also be an intriguing spot for Clingan as he would have a clear role as Joel Embiid’s backup. Regardless of the team selected, Clingan will always have a huge and loyal fanbase. Ultimately this generation will be talking about Clingan and these incredible UConn teams for years to come.

Cling Kong, as he is affectionately known, can expect to head back to UConn in the near future for a jersey retirement ceremony. That has to feel really good for a local kid to have his jersey hung in his hometown school’s rafters for generations to come. Truthfully, that is close to every basketball player’s dream.


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