When a star player wins a National Championship, there is little time to truly bask in the moment. Big decisions need to be made. UConn Basketball dominated the NCAA Tournament field on their way to cutting down the nets this past Monday night. The team was given a lot of exposure to fans, but also NBA scouts. Being a key component on a title winner tends to make a draft profile stand out just a bit more.

Huskies big man Donovan Clingan was likely tempted to take that leap, but fans will be thrilled to know that the freshman sensation will be staying put for the 2023-24 college basketball season. “Running it back,” he Tweeted.

With Jordan Hawkins already declaring for the NBA Draft and Adama Sanogo possibly following him, there is a decent chance that Clingan will be the face of UConn next year. The 7-foot-2 center garnered as much attention as any reserve in the country, with his imposing presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. He averaged nearly seven points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just over 13 minutes per game.

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Even if Sanogo stays, Clingan should be due for a breakout sophomore season. The four-star recruit’s size and ceiling demand a bigger role going forward. A departure to the NBA might have been a bit premature.

Bench players in college have gone on to be lottery picks before, but another year under head coach Dan Hurley surrounded by what figures to be another loaded team could significantly boost his stock going into the 2024 NBA Draft, or even beyond.

There is the sense that UConn basketball has now unequivocally regained its status among the best programs in the nation. Clingan may be a key factor in proving that statement true.

The Association should still be waiting for him when he decides to make the jump.