Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomesportUConn's hometown kid, Donovan Clingan, shines on big stage

UConn’s hometown kid, Donovan Clingan, shines on big stage

Seven mins into the Big East championship match on Saturday evening, the nineteen,812 in attendance at Madison Sq. Ground had a collective perplexed search on their faces on the secured ranking of 2-2. It was once an indication of 2 top-10 groups that have been enjoying a 3rd match in as many days.

An evening later the reigning nationwide champion UConn Huskies beat St. John’s, 95-90, in a scoring show off, this match was once already shaping as much as be rather the other. Someone needed to step up and be a too much maker.

This was once the month Donovan Clingan have been looking ahead to – the rationale the 7-foot-2, 280-pound obese guy selected to stick house and play games at Connecticut, a life got rid of from sacrificing mins in partial of eventual Ultimate 4 Maximum Remarkable Participant Adama Sanogo. 

On Saturday evening, Clingan proved as soon as once more that he provides UConn the DNA to copy as nationwide champions for the primary future since Billy Donovan’s Florida groups in 2006 and 2007. 

The sophomore middle out of Bristol, Connetciut, wasn’t simply the too much within the Huskies’ 73-57 win over Marquette, however he controlled to assemble historical past within the procedure. Clingan turned into the primary participant to publish a 20-point, 15-rebound efficiency in a Large East championship match since Patrick Ewing completed the feat again in 1984. Clingan’s ultimate stat form integrated a game-high 22 issues and 16 forums on 7-of-12 capturing from the ground.

“To put the Connecticut jersey on and be able to represent the state of Connecticut means a lot to me,” Clingan stated. “I’ve grown up in Connecticut my whole life. And watching UConn play, and to be able to be a part of history and be a part of something special like we’ve done last year and this year, it means a lot to me.” 

Clingan, a Bristol Central Top College graduate who ranks 7th in Connecticut highschool basketball historical past with 2,268 issues, added to his basketball legacy, which already featured a circumstance identify in his senior life of highschool and extreme life’s nationwide championship as a Husky freshman. 

Hurley referred to Clingan because the “jolly green giant” previous this time, announcing he’s some of the selfless gamers he’s ever coached. On Saturday evening, Clingan took keep watch over of the sport and added to his dominance over the Yellowish Eagles. In 3 wins over Marquette this life, the UConn middle mixed for 48 issues and 38 rebounds. 

Tristen Newton throws a GORGEOUS no-look dime to Donovan Clingan in UConn’s 73-57 victory over Marquette

“He would have been a top-20 pick in last year’s draft and accepted playing behind Adama [Sanogo] and embraced that, and is just an incredible person,” Hurley stated. “Most players in his situation in the college game today, the agent would have been calling, the dad would have been calling, he would have been boycotting practice and being pissy. But he’s a great, great guy. 

“Clearly, he’s taking to be a lottery select arising right here within the very related age, however he by no means makes it about himself. He’s near to the crew. He’s were given an implausible persona. He’s one of the vital two or 3 maximum impactful gamers in university basketball. In case your seeing don’t … when you don’t see that together with your seeing, upcoming take a look at the analytics.” 

Clingan’s personality comes from his father, Bill, and mother, Stacey, one of the greatest players to ever play at the University of Maine. Sadly, Stacey passed away from breast cancer at the age of 42 in 2018. That is why Clingan wears No. 32, the number his mom wore, and it’s a big reason why he’s stayed so close to home, to be near his family and friends and produce moments like he did on Saturday night inside Madison Square Garden. 

“Dressed in Connecticut throughout my chest each and every pace way the arena to me,” Clingan told FOX Sports. “To have my identify related to Ewing? One of the most biggest gamers to ever play games the sport and a legend. That does heartless a dozen. However I attempt to not let that stuff in point of fact get to my head.” 

‘I just had to go out there and dominate’ — Donovan Clingan on UConn winning the Big East Tournament championship

As for the residue of the Huskies, Tristen Newton capped off his Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player run with 13 points and 10 assists. He became only the second player in Big East history to hit the 10-assist mark in the conference championship game, joining Syracuse legend Pearl Washington’s 14 dishes in 1986. 

Even when this UConn team is a little bit off, like they were at times on Saturday, they are still the most complete team in the nation, and could be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament with Purdue shedding within the Large Ten Match semifinals. 

“We’ve been the most efficient crew in university basketball,” Hurley said. “Clearly, March Insanity after time, who is aware of what is going on there, however we’ve obviously been the most efficient program within the nation this life.

“There’s just not a lot of holes in the way that we we play. We’ve got great offense [No. 1 in KenPom]. We’re an elite defensive team [No. 11 in KenPom]. We play so hard. We’re deep, and we’re deep with NBA players that are unselfish and about winning. It’s been just a special, special season to this point.” 

When Clingan is at his best possible, there’s no dubiousness UConn can win all of it once more. The Huskies confirmed that Saturday evening in New york, including any other spotlight to this particular go, this future within the mode of a Large East championship, the primary since Cardiac Kemba, Jim Calhoun & co. did it in 2011.

John Fanta is a countrywide university basketball broadcaster and essayist for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in various capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as top host at the BIG EAST Virtual Community to offering remark on The Garden of 68 Media Community. Practice him at @John_Fanta.

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