Position: Small Forward
JUCO: Sullivan County CC
Hometown: Middletown, NY
Summary: Cleanthony Early is a small forward with great ball skills. He has the ability to shoot off the dribble, as well as finish above the rim every time. As good as Early is scoring the ball, he might be better on the opposite side of the ball. His defensive skills are amazing. His intangibles such as hoops IQ, positioning, and aggressive nature, paired with his obvious athletic ability make him a tough player to score against. His lean frame and jumping ability make scoring on him in the post difficult, and his speed and reaction time make it hard to drive on him from the perimeter.
As a freshman, Early was named D-III JUCO Player of the Year, as well as being a First Team All-American selection. Not only is it impressive for a freshman to win player of the year, but he was one of only three D-III players to be invited to Jerry Mullen’s Top 100 Tournament, which is a showcase for JUCO players. At the end of the tournament he was approached by numerous D-1 college programs. Coach Greg Heiar was there to talk with Cleanthony, but Wichita State had already shown interest earlier than the showcase. Early chose Wichita State out of his narrowed list of San Diego State, Baylor, Alabama and Washington State.