Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall says Knicks’ pick Cleanthony Early is a winner

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

The last time the Knicks had two Wichita State Shockers on their roster, they won an NBA championship.

USATSI_7708087_110579513_lowresThat was back in the 1969-70 season when the Knicks roster included Nate Bowman and Dave Stallworth on a team that featured Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere .

“The last time two Shockers were on the New York Knicks in 1969 they won the world’s championship,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog over the phone minutes after the Knicks selected forward Cleanthony Early with the No. 34 pick in the NBA Draft.

The Knicks also have guard Toure’ Murray, a former Shocker.

Early himself seemed over-joyed to be headed to the Knicks.

“I love them,” he said by text.

Marshall believes the Knicks — who traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday in exchange for the Nos. 34 and 51 picks — are getting a player with a big upside in the 6-foot-7 Early.

He averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game for the Shockers last season and went for 31 points and seven rebounds in an NCAA Tournament loss to Kentucky. Early also went for 24 and 10 in the 2013 national semifinals against Louisville.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” said Marshall, who led the Shockers to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament this season. “He can really shoot ti. Very coachable. A tremendous competitor. We’re just toasting the fact that he’s going to New York.”

The Knicks may or may not have their main Anthony — Carmelo — next season, but Cleanthony, who hails from Middletown, N.Y., is a natural small forward who might help pick up some of the slack.

“He’s a small forward,” Marshall said. “He really shoots it. He’s got to continue to work on his ball-handling and putting it on the floor. And he’s getting better with that, he’s really improved with it.

“He’s a good defender, he could be better but he’s a very good defender,” Marshall said. “I just think he’s a tremendous pick for the Knicks.”

Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for NBA.com and SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.


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Gotta love this Cleanthony Anthony pick..