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Q&A with Bristol Central 7-footer Donovan Clingan

Irene Rotondo

Standing at 7’1” and 265 lbs., Donovan Clingan is an obvious powerhouse player for Bristol Central. The Class of 2022 UConn commit has been an integral part of his undefeated high school team, and he’s looking ahead for future success with a new team and new coach. At his school’s game on Friday at the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay, Clingan controlled the paint with blocks and rebounds despite constant, aggressive pressure from Springfield Central’s defense. Following the intense matchup, Clingan sat down with The Springfield Student to talk about life in and out of the sport.

How does it feel for your high school career to be coming to an end?

“It’s hard, I mean everyone looks forward to their high school career. This is where I feel like it all started; I played basketball my whole life, but I was never good or never got the attention until high school. It’s only been a mile down the road from my house, too, which is nice, so that’s going to be different, but I’m ready for the next level.”

Donovan Clingan at the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay. (Joe Arruda/The Student)

What’s your favorite video game to play?

“I play a bunch of games… I’m a Celtics fan for 2k.”

If basketball wasn’t on the table for you at all, what would be your dream career?

“Professional fisherman. In the summertime, I fish maybe six or seven times a week. I love it, so…”

Where do you like to fish?

“Everywhere — lakes, rivers, ponds, anywhere.”

Who’s been the most influential coach in your life?

“Definitely Coach Barrette. He just pushed me to the level I want to play at; he was always there for me, off the court, if I need someone to talk to, it’s Coach Barrette. Don’t get me wrong; all the coaches that coached me throughout my career have helped me, like crazy, but Coach B has helped me a lot because of all he does for me off the court too.”

What’s the thing you’re looking forward to the most at UConn?

“Hopefully winning a national championship. Just running the game, knowing what I know now and getting better. I’m looking for a national championship, but to be playing with Coach Hurley and all of the guys there that he’s bringing in and that are already there, I just can’t wait.”

What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without touching a basketball?

“I mean, COVID… I tried to go outside a lot, I’m always trying to be in the gym, but with COVID it was probably a week and a half, two weeks since I touched it. When I first came back, I was like, ‘Woah,’ you know what I mean? Just COVID, COVID ruined a lot.”

What’s your favorite energy drink?

“I’m not an energy drink guy; if I drink an energy drink I’ll be up til 3:00 a.m. l; I’m all crazy.”

Okay, but I did hear a rumor about Mucho Mango Arizona Iced Tea…

“Oh, my god. Yeah, I’m a big Arizona Iced Tea guy. I drink… Mucho Mango’s my favorite, I like sweet tea, green tea, all that.”

What do you want to major in and why?

“Sports Management. I just feel like sports are my life; they’re the only thing that I really enjoy and can focus on, and I want to be a coach or I want to have my own facility, and that’s how I can get there.”

Who would you compare your game to?

“Oh, I don’t know about “compare to me…” I watch a lot of Jokic, Jokic and Embiid, I can shoot the ball pretty well like Jokic, I can pass the ball like Jokic, but back to the basket and stuff, I feel like I do a lot like Embiid.”

Clingan going in for a dunk on day two of the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay. (Joe Arruda/The Student)

Who was your Top Spotify Artist 2021?

“Lil Baby.”

What’s your favorite part of your hometown?

“I just feel, like, the love, really. I feel like everybody supports each other around each other, I just feel like a lot of people support me and people are happy to help each other out, just a lot of good people. It’s just Bristol.”

Have you ever had anything custom-made for you because of your height? Bed, shoes…

“My bed, yeah. I got a California queen, so it’s extra long. Get a good night’s sleep on that bed.”

Photo: Joe Arruda/The Student

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