Clingan reaches goal, helps UConn win fifth national championship

Last year, Donovan Clingan led Bristol Central boys’ basketball to an undefeated season and a state championship. This year, he helped UConn men’s basketball capture its fifth national championship. Not too shabby 13 months or so for the 7-foot-2 freshman. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2022 file)

Last year, Donovan Clingan was able to call himself a state champion.

On Monday night, Clingan added national champion to his resume. 

He played just 10 minutes, but the 7-foot-2 freshman and former Bristol Central superstar affected the game during his time on the NRG Stadium floor as UConn men’s basketball captured its fifth national championship with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State in Houston.

“This is a dream come true,” Clingan told Adam Betz of the Journal Inquirer. “I couldn’t be happier right now. I’ve been telling everyone the same thing. I’m out of words to say. I don’t know what to say anymore. I’m proud of the guys. I’m happy for everyone. We did this for coach.”

Coach is head coach Dan Hurley, who guided the Huskies to the national championship in his fifth season. Clingan’s state line from the final went like this: 10 minutes; 2-3 field goals; 3 rebounds; 3 fouls; 1 assist; 1 turnover; 1 block; 2 steals; 4 points.

After the game, Clingan went and found his family to give them hugs. Clingan lost his mother, Stacey (Porrini) Clingan, to breast cancer in 2018. He stayed at Bristol Central to break his mother’s records and bring home a state championship. His goal at UConn was to win a national championship. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

Clingan finished his first season in Storrs with these stats: 39 games (0 starts); 508 total minutes (13.0 per game); 112-171 field goals (65.5%); 0-1 3-point field goals; 45-87 free throws (51.7%); 269 total points (6.9 per game); 86 offensive rebounds; 133 defensive rebounds; 219 total rebounds/5.6 per game (both third on team); 73 personal fouls; 18 assists; 40 turnovers; 16 steals; 70 blocks (team-best)