Men's College Basketball

UCONN MBB: Castle and Clingan Selected In NBA Draft Lottery


BROOKLYN, N.Y. – For the first time since 2012 and fourth time ever, the UConn men’s basketball team has a pair of lottery picks. Both Stephon Castle (Covington, Ga.) and Donovan Clingan (Bristol, Conn.) were selected in the first seven picks of the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. Castle went fourth overall to the San Antonio Spurs, while Clingan was selected seventh overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
The duo and 2024 national champions become the 22nd and 23rd first round draft picks in UConn history – all since 1990 – and give Connecticut 49 players drafted to the NBA since 1965. It marks the second-straight season that UConn has multiple draft selections, while Castle and Clingan become the third and fourth lottery picks developed by Dan Hurley at Connecticut. They are also the 17th and 18th lottery picks in program history, pushing UConn into the top-five among all programs in lottery picks produced since 1990.
UConn also had multiple lottery picks in 2012 (Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb), 2006 (Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong) and 2004 (Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon). Castle is the highest overall pick for UConn since Hasheem Thabeet went No. 2 overall in 2009 and is the sixth top-five pick in Connecticut history.
Castle becomes a rarity in the storied UConn NBA Draft history, the second true “one-and-done” to go from his freshman season at UConn to the NBA lottery after Drummond went No. 9 overall in 2012. The 2024 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year made the most of his time in Storrs, emerging quickly as a versatile offensive weapon and shutdown defensive stopper. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game over his 34 contests, making 30 starts. Castle was named to the NCAA East Region All-Tournament team and the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team. On the biggest stage in Phoenix at the Final Four, he tied his career-high with 21 points in the national semifinal against Alabama and pumped in 15 more in the title game against Purdue.
Clingan will join the Blazers after a near-perfect two-year run in Storrs that culminated in back-to-back national championships. His impact on both ends of the floor was tremendous, as his offensive skillset, finishing touch and passing ability emerged to complement his elite rim protection and disruption. As a freshman in 2022-23, the 7-2 center backed up All-American Adama Sanogo and appeared in all 39 games off the bench, averaging 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 13.0 minutes per game. He ramped up his production as a sophomore as he moved into the starting role, making 33 starts in 35 appearances and averaging 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds  and 2.2 blocks in 22.5 minutes per contest.
The Nutmeg State-native shot a then-UConn single-season record 65.5 percent from the floor during his freshman season and his career field goal percentage of 64.5 percent is second in UConn history behind only two-year teammate Samson Johnson. Clingan turned in some of his best performances in March and beyond. He scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the 2024 BIG EAST Tournament title game, posting numbers not seen in that setting since Patrick Ewing. His dominance throughout the NCAA Tournament saw him earn East Region Most Outstanding Player and a spot on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team.
The 2024 NBA Draft continues on Thursday night with the second round.

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