Donovan Clingan: 4 Key Factors On His Scouting Report Shaping A Promising Career Trajectory

UCONN center Donovan Clingan lead the Huskies to their second straight NCAA Final Four appearance.

Donovan Clingan wears the number 32 in honor of his late mother, Stacey Porrini. She also serves as his inspiration to constantly improve as a player. From his towering presence on the court to his impact on the game, Donovan just wants to make his mother proud. Since his mother’s passing to present day, Clingan has yet to let her down.

Clingan finished his 2022–23 campaign as an NCAA National Champion after just one season as a freshman. Instead of entering the 2023 NBA Draft he decided to return to school because he felt that he wasn’t ready for the next level. So, the old school type of big man returned for his sophomore season to further hone his skills. 

Thus far his decision is paying off big time. Clingan is currently projected as a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. When NBA teams look at him they see:

  • A solid big body that provides size to a depth chart
  • 7’ 7” of wingspan (unofficial)
  • An intimidating defensive presence and shot blocker around the basket
  • Efficient offense
  • Rebounding
  • A finisher around the rim

This article delves deeper into the four essential elements found in the scouting report for one of the best 2024 NBA Draft prospects, which will help to determine Donovan Clingan’s promising career trajectory at the next level. 

What Will You Find On Donovan Clingan’s Scouting Reports?

#1. Clingan Is A Lot To Handle Around The Basket

Donovan Clingan is a lot to handle because he’s an enormous active body. Especially considering how well he uses his size to carve out space around the basket. He rarely steps out of his lane to shoot jump shots.

Clingan understands and accepts that his offensive strengths are best utilized from close range. The area of the court where he does most of his scoring and poses the biggest threat to the defense. And Clingan can be problematic in several ways.

First off, his teammates set up the majority of his scoring and field goal attempts. It is extremely difficult for Clingan’s defenders to recover or stop him from behind when his team runs set plays that free him from his defender near to the basket.

Clingan provides a big target for ball handlers, especially on screen & rolls down the middle. Once in motion towards the basket, he’s a tough cover for the smaller defenders on switches. Plus he’s able to finish through help defenders and contact with strong two handed flushes.

Second, it’s a tough task to establish favorable position against Clingan when he opens up towards the basket and seals defenders on his back or hips in the painted area. Over his defender passing lanes to the basket are created when he establishes position like this. Once the catch is made the damage is done.

Around the basket, Clingan makes it look fairly easy at times to power dribble and muscle through multiple defenders on his way up. He’s capable of finishing with both hands. Plus he punishes smaller defenders.

Again, he’s a lot to handle around the basket. His shot mechanics and stroke from the foul line are fluid. However, Clingan has a lot of room for growth in this area. He’s below average from the charity stripe. Therefore, fouling him is often times the best option to stop him once he establishes deep position or when defenders are behind him. 

The best option, short of fouling Clingan near the basket, appears to allow him to catch a pass over the top of a defender that leads him underneath the hoop. The defender can then try to entice him into trying to finish with a reverse layup using his left hand from underneath or behind the basket.

Third, Clingan is capable of creating his own shot from the post. Baseline drop steps combined with the force of his turning big body and elbows are used to clear a path to basket. He’s also good for a one or two back down dribble to set up right and left handed jump hooks.

Fourth, he’s not the most athletic and he doesn’t have the most lift. But he takes up a lot of real estate, battles on the offensive glass and keeps the ball high on second and third put back attempts.

#2. Often Reels In Boards By Being The Biggest Body Around The Basket

Clingan is a solid offensive rebounder. On the offensive glass, he’s a real handful. While he doesn’t have much lift from the stand still, Clinton rarely struggles to establish good position when shots go up. Plus he gets off his feet for second and third chance attempts. He also uses his height and standing reach to his advantage when keeping out of reach rebounds alive. 

On the defensive side of the glass, Clingan takes up a lot of real estate. He may not always box out but when he does it’s tough to get around his big body. In those moments he does a solid job of keeping his man off the glass. As the largest player on the court, Clingan frequently grabs rebounds by merely just being around the basket.

#3. Surprisingly A Better Passer Than Anticipated

For being an old school big, Clingan is surprisingly a decent passer. Especially since he doesn’t fit the mold of a modern day big with guard skills. When doubled or tripled teamed in the post, he has the vision and ability to spot and connect with cutters. He’s also capable of finding cutters from the high post.

#4. His Defensive Presence Is Felt In The Paint

Donovan Clingan’s defensive shot blocking presence is felt in the paint. His impact extends across defending on the ball, off the ball and providing help defense.

On the ball, Clingan moves his feet well for his size. He bodies up on his man. Yet, at times Clingan is eager to leave his feet. Leaving him susceptible to a good change of direction off the pivot or a head fake.

However he’s also capable of recovering to contest and block shot attempts. But, once he leaves his feet anywhere near the three point line, recovering on attacks to the basket is another story. Even though he’s agile for his size, on most occasions the foot speed just isn’t there to catch up from a distance. 

His strength and body mass allow him to defend against back downs. While he doesn’t have much lift from the standstill he’s still able to effectively contest post-ups and close range field goal attempts by forcing opponents to shoot over his long extended arms. 

Off the ball Clingan is an effective shadow defender. Tends to keep his eye on his target like a stalker does to its prey. Also, in pick & roll situations he has enough agility to show near the three point line and recover to the roll man in order to contest field goal attempts at the rim.

Clingan reacts quickly when providing help defense in the paint and along the baseline to contest, disrupt and block shots. At the same time he’s very aware of where his man is located when he leaves to provide that help. Clingan, ping pongs quickly from man to man around the basket. Often times his steals come from being in the right place at the right time.

When he’s not blocking, disrupting or contesting a shot, his presence alone serves as a reminder for slashers to think twice. For the bold slashers, Clingan effectively forces them to shoot over a very long extended arm. Often resulting in the shots that aren’t rejected to come up short. Clingan is a good rebounder so he’s more than capable of the rebounding after contesting and forcing missed shots. 

Profile: Connecticut Huskies

Height: 7’ 2”

Weight: 282 LBS

Wingspan: 7’ 7” (unofficial)

Position: Center

Class: Sophomore

Hometown: Bristol, CT

DOB: 2/23/2004 (20 yrs old)

2023-24 NCAA Season Stats Per Game


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