UConn center Clingan to return for soph. season


UConn center Donovan Clingan announced Saturday he plans to return to the Huskies for his sophomore season.

Clingan, a 7-foot-2 big man from Bristol, Connecticut, would have likely been a borderline first-round pick or early-second-round pick had he declared for the NBA draft.

He came off the bench in all 39 games this season, but he was one of the most impactful reserves in the country. Although Clingan didn’t play enough minutes to be considered for the national stat leaders, he would have ranked near the top of the charts in block percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and 2-point field goal percentage.

Clingan averaged 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just 13.1 minutes, shooting 65.5% from the field. That would put him at 21.1 points, 17.2 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per 40 minutes, which would have ranked first in rebounding and second in blocks among qualifying prospects.

Despite playing just 12.5 minutes in the NCAA tournament, he averaged 5.8 points and 5.0 rebounds while blocking 11 shots — including a 12-point, nine-rebound, two-block effort in the first round against Iona.

UConn saw potential lottery pick Jordan Hawkins leave for the NBA draft on Friday and now awaits decisions from Andre Jackson Jr. and Adama Sanogo. If the Huskies get back Jackson, as expected, and keep Tristen Newton in the fold for another year, coach Dan Hurley’s team could enter the 2023-24 campaign as the preseason No. 1 team in the country.

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