Wichita State's Cleanthony Early played a major role in leading the Shockers to 35 straight wins to start last season, and now the 6'7 wing has been selected by the New York Knicks with the 34th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Early began his collegiate career has a star at Sullivan County Community College, where he was a two-time Division III NJCAA Player of the Year. Early then signed on to play with Gregg Marshall at Wichita State.
Early enjoyed a solid first season with the Shockers, and he was even better as a senior. The 23-year-old averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds on the season, shooting 48.7 percent overall and 37.6 percent from three. Early was especially good in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 54 points in two games, including 31 in a superb performance against Kentucky.
Early boasts explosive athleticism, posting a 40-inch max vertical at the draft combine. However, there are some questions about Early's position at the next level. He's not the most advanced ball handler for a wing player, and he lacks ideal strength to play down low. The fact that he's 23 also may limit his upside.
The Knicks will likely want to use Early as a small-ball power forward and energy player off the bench. He provides toughness and decision-making to a team that lacked both last year. They could have used a big man, but Early was likely the best player left on the board, and in the second round, that's who you pick.