Knicks select Wichita State forward Early

By: WSU Athletics Email
By: WSU Athletics Email

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Wichita State All-American Cleanthony Early (Middletown, N.Y.) became the highest draft choice out of Wichita State since Xavier McDaniel in 1985, when his named was called in the Second Round, No. 34, to the New York Knicks in the 2014 NBA Draft, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Former Shocker Toure Murry, who also played for Gregg Marshall at Wichita State, is on the Knicks' roster (Rookie, 2013-14) and played in 51 games a year ago for New York. Former Shocker Gal Mekel was another Shocker in the NBA a year ago, playing 31 games on the Dallas Maverick's roster in 2013-14.

Coincidentally, No. 34 was McDaniel's number at WSU (1981-85).

The Shockers are coming off the best two seasons in Wichita State history, which coincide with All-American Cleanthony Early's two seasons in Wichita.

Early has been on the roster for two of the three-straight NCAA appearances, which included the Final Four in the 2012-13 season and a 35-1 record in the 2013-14 season.

Winning their NCAA-record 35-games helped the Shockers' two year record of 65-10 with leading scorer Early averaging 13.9 points and 16.4 points the last two seasons.

In 2013-14, Early helped the Shockers win their second Valley regular-season title (18-0) in three seasons and win the MVC Tournament in St. Louis for the first time since the tournament went to a neutral site. The tournament title was the first for WSU since winning it in 1987 on Tulsa's home floor and Early was named to the all-tournament team.

The Shockers were ranked in the Top 25 all season, also a first for WSU, and reached the No. 2 spot for the first time since the 1981-82 season. The Shockers' No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament was also a first.

In 2012-13, a Final Four appearance by the Shockers topped a six-year reconstruction at Wichita State under Marshall. En route, WSU defeated Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, La Salle, and Ohio State before losing to eventual National Champion Louisville in the National Semifinal game in Atlanta. The voters in the USA Today Coaches poll rewarded the Shockers with a final No. 4 ranking, their highest final ranking.

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