Wichita State Basketball: Cleanthony Early's Draft Stock Soars Despite Loss

By Brandon Fitzpatrick
Cleanthony Early NBA
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The big names coming into the NCAA tournament were very well known. Names like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Doug McDermott were the headliners. All of these names are expected to be great players at the next level, but after today there is one name people will start talking about a lot: Cleanthony Early.

The Wichita State senior played marvelous in defeat. The Shockers saw their season end, but Anthony might have just secured his spot in the NBA. In defeat he had 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting. He also shot 4-for-6 from three and had the dunk of the tournament so far.

In an age where every high draft pick is 19 or 20, it is refreshing to see a player who has stuck it out in college get some recognition. And believe me that recognition is coming for Early. If you were watching this game you could just see something about him. He had a look in his eye and a desire to have the ball in his hands.

Early is not the prospect that Joel Embiid is; he doesn’t have the raw athleticism that Wiggins possesses, and he doesn’t have the brute strength that Randle and Parker have. But he is pretty darn close to having all those things with those players.

Early will be drafted come late June — make no mistake about it. Where is he going to get drafted? Well, after this performance expect his name to climb a lot on draft big boards. Anthony is a star and his draft stock is finally going to reflect that.

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