After being eliminated from the playoffs in the same matter they had for the past four years, the Bulls are presumably looking for one thing-scoring. Perhaps they may look for buckets. Maybe they’ll look for baskets. Well, you catch my drift. Producing points is a priority for the Bulls. One player who could help them in that department is Cleanthony Early.
Early is a 6’7″, 219 pound small forward out of Wichita State. He is a senior who transferred from a junior college to help the Shockers get to the Final Four in the 2012 season and have an undefeated regular season in 2013.
Early played most of his career at power forward, but at the next level he projects as a small forward. He can use his power forward skills at the small forward position. He is a good shooter, making 39% of his catch-and-shoot attempts this past season. He was an extremely efficient player, making 58% of his 2-point shots, 38% of his 3-point shots, and 84% of his free throws attempted. His 64% True Shooting percentage ranks seventh among the top-100 prospects.
Early is all about scoring points. averaging 24.5 points-per 40 minutes, fifth-best among the top-100.
Early had his best efforts on the big stage, averaging 27 points in this season’s NCAA Tournament.
Coach Tom Thibodeau would have to work with Early on his defense. He is still a work in progress. He does have the athleticism to make plays, however. He averaged 1.2 blocks per 40 minutes and 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.
Cleanthony Early is another one of those players who is penalized for staying in school. At 23, he is one of the oldest players in the draft, and that lowers his attractiveness to teams. Of course, having to take the JUCO route, he probably didn’t have a choice.
Early can infuse some much-needed energy off the bench that can bring back memories of the Bench Mob. Combining him with Mike Dunleavy Jr. can make the Bulls’ bench one of the strongest in terms of scoring. That would be a change from what Bulls fans are seeing now.