Bristol Central junior Donovan Clingan is the 2021 recipient for the Gatorade State Player of the Year, Gatorade officially announced on Friday morning.
Clingan, the No. 44 player in the Class of 2022 rankings from ESPN, is also one of three finalists for Gatorade’s National Player of the Year and the only junior among the three. The other finalists are Chet Holmgren, a center from Minneapolis who has committed to play at Gonzaga and Jabari Smith from Tyrone, Georgia, a forward who will play at Auburn next season.
The national award will be announced next week.
The 7-foot-1, 265-pound Clingan helped lead Bristol Central to the Central Connecticut Conference Bracket I Championship in late March, a 15-0 record and the top spot in the final GameTimeCT Top 10 boys basketball poll.
Clingan averaged 27.3 points, 17.2 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 3.1 assists to earn the GameTimeCT State Player of the Year honor. He has 1,421 points and 1,002 rebounds and has been named All-Central Connecticut Conference each of his first three seasons at Bristol Central.
“At 7-foot-1, Clingan possesses outstanding court vision and a willingness to pass from anywhere on the floor,” said Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s National Recruiting Director, in a statement put out by Gatorade. “His shooting touch is soft, both facing the basket and in the low post. Defensively, he is steady at protecting the rim. His unselfishness is one of his greatest traits, as he finds the open man quickly and accurately.”
Clingan had close to 20 Division I college scholarship offers. In late April, he announced his final eight teams, which includes UConn. The other seven are: Michigan, Ohio State, Georgetown, Providence, Notre Dame. Syracuse and Rutgers.
Clingan said he plans to make his final decision before the start of his senior season.
Gatorade’s award also recognizes academic achievement and character. Clingan has a 3.53 GPA. He volunteers coaching basketball at the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol and as a Bristol Central Rambassador, helping incoming freshman become acclimated to their new surroundings.
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