UConn center Donovan Clingan declares for 2024 NBA draft

UConn center Donovan Clingan is heading to the NBA.

The sophomore declared for the 2024 draft on Friday in an interview with ESPN. Clingan was spectacular in the postseason as UConn won its second consecutive NCAA tournament on Monday in a 75-60 win over Purdue.

Clingan is expected to be a high lottery pick and a potential top-five selection. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek had Clingan going at No. 5 to the Portland Trail Blazers in her latest mock draft this week. Here’s what she had to say about the 7-2 big man.

Clingan struggled with injuries all season and was finally 100% healthy during UConn’s tournament run, where he really shined as a mobile big who can run the floor well for his size. Clingan can bang with the bigs down low and is getting better at guarding outside of the paint in the way he shows and recovers on the roll. He covers so much court with his 7-7 wingspan and is an elite rim protector, recording a staggering eight blocks in the win over Northwestern in the second round.

Clingan averaged 13 points and 7.4 rebounds a game over the 2023-24 season. He was hampered by that foot injury in December and January but got better as the season went on and UConn closed out 2024 with 13 consecutive wins.

His best statistical game in the NCAA tournament came against the Wildcats when he had 14 points and 14 rebounds to go with those eight blocks. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds and five blocks in UConn’s Elite Eight win over Illinois. The Illini had an incredibly difficult time scoring when Clingan was on the floor even as they kept going at him and the basket.

Clingan scored at least 11 points in five of UConn’s six tournament victories. He was hampered by foul trouble guarding Purdue center Zach Edey in the final as Edey put up 37 points. But UConn’s perimeter defense smothered every other Boilermaker as the Huskies pulled away in the second half for the win.

A Connecticut native, Clingan was a four-star recruit in the class of 2022 and an immediate contributor for UConn. He played in all of the Huskies’ 39 games as a freshman and averaged seven points and over five rebounds in just 13 minutes per game.

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