This year has been an incredibly rewarding one as I tackled my new responsibilities covering the great state of Connecticut and the New Haven area. I’ve made many new friends, seen a lot of new and familiar faces, and most…
This year has been an incredibly rewarding one as I tackled my new responsibilities covering the great state of Connecticut and the New Haven area. I’ve made many new friends, seen a lot of new and familiar faces, and most importantly have watched a ton of really great basketball. The season’s worth of work these gentlemen and ladies put into these events culminated in a big time opportunity to capture a state championship in front of a crowd of people at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. With high energy and a packed arena, these games left nothing to be desired.
Division II was a matchup between a young Northwest Catholic squad and Bristol Central. Bristol Central, who has yet to lose a game all season, is led by, who is undoubtedly the most well known non-prep school player in the state of Connecticut. NW Catholic has a pair of young bigs in London Jemsion and Badara Diakite who keep this team in games against the best of opponents. After a 2-point lead at half, Bristol Central exploded for a huge 3rd quarter and went on a tear to claim the DII state title, 56-36. Here were the game’s standouts:
, 7-2, 2022, Bristol Central, UConn commit
I really don’t need to include Clingan in any scouting report ever again (this will be his last one from me, anyways) because there is nothing left he can show the people of CT. Night in and night out, Clingan has made his opponents look silly with his shot blocking and scoring abilities. And the state championship game was no different. Clingan put up 25 points, 24 rebounds and 2 blocks while being double teamed the entire game. Coming close outscoring and outrebounding NW Catholic on his own, Clingan had to fight hard to get open and take advantage of any opportunity where he could get an open look. His size was too much to handle, and he did a great job of forcing traditionally paint dominant players into settling for jump shots (Diakite was 0-5 from three). There’s really nothing more to asy about this cat. Great career, and congratulations to Donovan.
Damien Glasper, 6-0, 2022, Bristol Central
Now, Clingan can’t do it alone. And this team would have been much worse this season without Damien Glasper there to make things just a bit easier. While Clingan struggled to get going early, Glasper made sure they didn’t have to come back and play from behind. Glasper hits some of the toughest shots you will see, and has a magnetic floater that seems to hit the bottom of the net no matter where he is. Just the ability to penetrate opened the floor up so much and forced some of the paint defenders who were otherwise guarding Clingan to step up and leave Clingan a bit more wide open. He made some crazy tough shots (including a half court buzzer beater) and kept Bristol in this one early. A well deserved, championship level performance from this guy.
Badara Diakite, 6-9, 2025, NW Catholic
Listen, Diakite didn’t have the game of his life against Bristol. But, who cares? A freshman playing on the biggest stage possible against a 7-2 D1 commit? I would be shocked if he did play amazingly. Nevertheless, there was a ton to be positive about in Diakite’s performance. His physical tools are great: long arms, great vertical, incredibly mobile with the ball. It aids Diakite to become more than just long arms to lay the ball up. He’s an ardent offensive player with an arsenal that will only improve with time. In terms of IQ, Diakite had some flashes of showing he knew where to be at the right time for some easy layups. He had a tough defensive matchup, and was unfortunately shut down on the block by Clingan, but still showed some flashes of having a nice post bag that will aid him well as he continues his basketball journey. To sum it up, he’s young. We know that. But he had some nice flashes of talent that will aid him well as he continues to grow and will very well become one of CT’s best players in the years to come.
Matthew Curtis, 6-3, 2022, NW Catholic, Fairfield commit
I understand why they call him “Matty Buckets” now. Curtis led NW Catholic in scoring on their big day with 15 points. Curtis is one of those classic “better with a hand in his face” kind of players. When Bristol Central tried to press him, they failed miserably and were greeted with some of the toughest jumpers I have seen in recent memory. He was a bit stifled by Clingan down low and couldn’t get too much going inside, but he still showed that he’s a tough guard. On defense, his movement was solid and his strength and size made him tough to go by. Efficiency wasn’t for him in the big lights, but overall Curtis had a more than promising performance.