Bristol Central junior Donovan Clingan is one of the high school athletes to lose the most from the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only did the 16-year-old center lose his first legitimate chance at competing for a state championship after leading the Rams to the fourth overall seed in the Division II state tournament, his summer was also packed with exciting opportunities to increase his exposure as one of the top basketball recruits in the country.
Despite all of the lost opportunities, as a high-profile prospect, Clingan is also one of the high school athletes to suffer the least from the virus canceling events globally. While many kids’ athletic careers end after high school, Clingan’s best basketball is still very much in front of him, as he was still able to play for his AAU team, Team Spartans, and continue to work on his craft.
“We had a couple of big time tournaments planned, we were supposed to go to Vegas,” Clingan said. “I was supposed to go play for team USA and all that stuff got canceled, which is still a bummer. There’s always next year. We still played almost every weekend, or at least once or twice a month, which was good, it’s better than nothing.”
In addition to Team Spartans playing in an older age group, Clingan was set to try out for the under-17 national team, which if he made he would have played games in various countries on a team with the best young basketball players in the country.
With his status as the 45th-best high school basketball prospect in the country for the class of 2022 according to rivals.com, college scouts and coaches are very interested in seeing him play, and were able to watch his games live streamed online.
“[Last summer] was obviously different, I was expecting a really good summer [this year],” Clingan said. “I did get a lot of offers, but I expected to see a lot of coaches be able to come watch me play. Because of covid, that changed.”
Clingan is up to 17 offers from Division I schools after finishing last summer with five. Some of the more notable schools to offer Clingan are Syracuse, UConn, Michigan State and Notre Dame.
Coming off of a season in which he was named to the All-State team and selected as Connecticut basketball Player of the Year by MaxPreps after averaging 24.8 points, 17.2 rebounds and 6.4 blocks per game, Clingan spent most of the summer facing the uncertainty of not having a high school basketball season this year. While the AAU circuit is the time and place that most of the major recruiting is done, representing Central will always be important to him, and he doesn’t want to miss that opportunity.
“I was worried a little bit, but I was just thinking that if volleyball and all these other sports are playing then I think we should be good,” Clingan said. “Even if we didn’t have a season, I wasn’t going to change where I was going to school. I was going to stay at Central.”
Due to the ever-changing landscape caused by the pandemic, Clingan is doing his best to focus on the aspects of the recruiting process and his life as a basketball player that he can control. Still nearly two years away from his first day of college, he has plenty of time to continue developing his game and building more attention around his name, but he would like to choose a college before the start of his senior season.
“I think because of covid that everything is going to change,” Clingan said. “Obviously I want to win a state championship this year for high school. For AAU, keep getting recruited and maybe before I start my senior season for high school be committed to college.”