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Going out on top: UConn’s Clingan enters draft

UConn 7-foot-2 sophomore Donovan Clingan — one of the cornerstones of the Huskies’ back-to-back NCAA championship teams — will enter the 2024 NBA draft, Clingan told ESPN on Friday.

The No. 3 prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 list, Clingan is expected to be in the running to become the No. 1 pick in the June draft after a dominant late-season and NCAA tournament run.

Clingan leaves UConn for the NBA after a historic high school and college career. Before joining coach Dan Hurley at UConn, Clingan became one of Connecticut’s all-time scholastic legends for Bristol Central High School under coach Tim Barrette.

After overcoming some early-season struggles, Clingan, 20, played his best basketball in March and April. He used his 7-foot-7 wingspan and tremendous timing to become a prolific shot-blocker, averaging 2.5 to rank eighth in the nation.

Clingan also played an immense role for the nation’s No. 1-ranked offense. The Huskies ran many of their half-court sets through Clingan in the low, mid and high posts. He set screens, facilitated out of dribble handoffs, finished well with both hands and displayed polished footwork at the rim.

Clingan averaged 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in the Huskies’ 2024 tournament run, all up from his season averages. He had a career-high eight blocks in a second-round victory over Northwestern. His 19 total blocks in the NCAA tournament were the most since the 2016 tournament.

Clingan was one of two players with 400 points, 80 blocks and 50 assists in Division I this season — along with back-to-back John R. Wooden Award winner Zach Edey of Purdue, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The NBA draft will be Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27 in New York City.

ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony contributed to this report.

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