Chicago Bulls 2014 NBA Draft Profile: Cleanthony Early

By Kristen Fazio
Cleanthony Early
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Wichita State went undefeated last season, 35-0, and reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. A large part of their success was due to what Cleanthony Early. Expect Early to be on the Chicago Bulls‘ radar come draft night if they decide to hold on to both of their first-round draft picks.

Early may be a little overly criticized because he is a senior, and four-year players usually undergo more scrutiny than a underclassman would heading into the NBA Draft; however, he was one of the best scorers in college basketball, averaging 16.3 PPG, while shooting 48.7 percent and 37.6 from three.

At only 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, he may have trouble playing power forward in the NBA and would be better suited at small forward. He is a versatile scorer who can move well without the basketball, and can play with his back to the basket. Anthony is also good mid-range and perimeter shooter. He proved to be much more effective in catch-and-shoot situations where his feet are set.

Anthony is also known for his ability to finish around the basket and his willingness to run the floor in transition. Early uses his athleticism to get above the rim for put-backs and alley-oops. Also, he has the strength to finish through contact.

He will need to work on his 3-point shooting, ball-handling and defensive ability at the next level, but he has the athleticism and quickness needed to do so. He can finish in the post, but may not have as much success in the NBA against bigger, stronger power forwards.

Something that was notable in the tournament was that Early was beaming with confidence, unafraid to take a big shot and able to lead his team on the biggest stage. He is also one of the oldest players in the draft and comes from a winning program, both qualities that the Bulls are looking for.

Early shouldn’t be penalized for staying in school. He is NBA-ready, and should get a look from the Bulls to be a scorer off the bench.

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