He’s 7’1″ and only a junior in high school. Donovan Clingan has natural size and athleticism to make him a highly coveted prospect. He’s a top-50 player in his Class of ’22, and has narrowed his final list to eight schools. Syracuse is one of those eight.
For the Bristol, Connecticut product, Syracuse has been in on him early. Compared to Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (who SU focused on in January) and Kyle Filipowski (who the Orange offered last week), the staff has a long-standing bond with Clingan. The Orange offered him in August of ’19, nearly two years ago. This was immediately after he attended SU’s camp. In fact, out of all the major offers he’s gotten, SU was first.
The rest of Clingan’s Elite 8: UConn, Ohio State, Georgetown, Providence, Rutgers and Notre Dame. Which school is the biggest threat to SU? There’s not a pushover in the bunch, but the Friars went 13-13, 9-10 in the Big East, were one-and-done at MSG, and missed the tournament. Out.
Rutgers was an impressive 10-seed this year in the NCAA’s, beating Clemson in the Round of 64 and holding a late lead over Houston, who would eventually go onto the Final Four. Had the Knights held on, it would have been a Sweet 16 vs. the Orange. Maybe SU would’ve been in the Elite 8 or beyond. They’ve got good momentum, but it was the first trip to March Madness in 30 years for RU. Out.
Georgetown was in danger of missing the Big Dance but rattled off an amazing Big East Tourney run. Patrick Ewing is a big name, and with his reputation as a Hall of Fame big man, plus the Hoyas legacy of great centers. Can Georgetown get back to developing the best bigs in the nation? Clingan would be a good start. But they’re not the biggest threat to the Orange.
Notre Dame has a coach in Mike Brey who has been there for two decades. But their last few seasons have been massive disappointments, and Brey has been rumored to be exiting South Bend for for two years. Would Clingan head to a place where the coaching situation is an unknown? Maybe, but also not SU’s biggest challenge.
Ohio State was a power program this season and will likely be one of the best in the Big Ten moving forward. Certainly a tough contender, and a potential top 10 team next year. Malaki Branham, a consensus top-30 prospect, is the best incoming recruit. But the two schools that 247 Sports have as “warm” in Clingan’s bio, are Michigan and UConn. Connecticut is his home-state school, and he’d be a state hero. Clingan averaged 27.3 points, 17.2 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 3.1 assists this season, leading his team to the Central Connecticut Conference Bracket I championship and the No. 1 ranking in the final GameTimeCT.com state poll.
But it’s the Wolverines who are the biggest threat to SU. Here’s what Clingan told 247 Sports in February.
“It was big to get that offer. It’s a big-time school with a great coach. I hopped on a zoom call for two hours with the staff and it’s just a blessing to get an offer from that school. Their message to me was that they see me fitting in well in their program, they like my game and they think I can make it big. They produce bigs very well and having coach Juwan as a coach is huge. He was a good big man himself so that factors in.” – Donovan Clingan to 247 Sports
Michigan was a Final Four contender this year. They will be a favorite in the Big Ten next season. Hunter Dickinson will likely be the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. The 7-foot-1 center will combine with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class. Howard is a former big man himself. The Wolverines have it cooking on all fronts. SU will have to beat out Michigan if it wants to land Clingan.