Donovan Clingan is leaving UConn for the NBA after two seasons, two national titles

UConn center Donovan Clingan celebrates after the NCAA college Final Four championship basketball game against Purdue, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

STORRS, Conn. — Donovan Clingan is leaving UConn after two seasons and entering the NBA draft, the 7-foot-2 center announced Friday, four days after he helped lead the Huskies to a second straight national title.

Clingan, a sophomore from Bristol, Connecticut, posted his decision on social media, saying that playing in the NBA has been a “lifelong dream.”


“It will be very hard for me to leave my brothers after all the success these past two years,” Clingan wrote. “But the time is NOW!!”

His decision did not come as a surprise. Huskies coach Dan Hurley has consistently referred to both Clingan and freshman guard Stephon Castle as NBA lottery picks. Castle has yet to announce his future plans.

Clingan was an important recruit for Hurley, a five-star prospect who chose to stay in state after leading Bristol Central High School to a state championship.

He spent his freshman season playing a backup role to Adama Sanogo, the most outstanding player of the 2023 Final Four, and averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Clingan stepped into a starting role this season, but struggled early with foot injuries that cost him five games.

He finished the season averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. And he raised his game in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks during the Huskies’ six-game run that ended with the program’s sixth NCAA title.

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

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