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Blazers land former UConn star Clingan with 7th pick

Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Portland Trail Blazers selected UConn center Donovan Clingan with the No. 7 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday.

Clingan is the latest big man to come out of the Huskies' storied program. The towering sophomore was set for a breakout 2023-24 campaign with Adama Sanogo off to the NBA, but a pair of foot injuries kept him from establishing a rhythm early on.

Once Clingan got healthy, he played up to the preseason expectations and was a key cog in UConn's second straight national championship. The 20-year-old ranked in the NCAA's top 10 in player efficiency rating (34.8), blocks (86), effective field-goal percentage (64.3%), and defensive box plus-minus (6.2).


Position: Center
School: UConn
Height: 7-foot-2
Weight: 282 lbs
Wingspan: 7-foot-7
Max vertical: 29 inches

2023-24 statistics with UConn:

35 63.9 58.3 7.4 2.5 13

Clingan's calling card early on will be his defense. His combination of size, length, and instincts made him one of the top shot-blockers in the nation. He's also got the mobility to prevent guards from blowing by him in drop coverage. On the opposite end, Clingan's a lob threat in the pick-and-roll and flashed some playmaking ability in dribble handoffs and out of the high post. However, Clingan's shooting range is limited, and it's fair to question his conditioning after he played just 22.5 minutes per contest last season.

NBA comparable: Rudy Gobert. After playing sparingly as a rookie, the towering Frenchman developed into a rim-protecting force and paint deterrent. Gobert recently captured his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, tying Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace for the all-time NBA record. Clingan has all the makings of a defensive anchor but could further elevate his ceiling by developing a jumper.

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