Skip to content

Cleanthony Early: 39 in comeback win. Gregg Marshall: Coach of the Year?

Jan 10, 2013, 10:04 AM EDT

Southern Illinois Wichita St Basketball

You see that picture to the right?

The one right next to this text?

It’s Cleanthony Early, and that’s a picture of him not giving a good gull dern about Wichita State’s injury issues.

The Shockers are missing three starters — that includes their best perimeter shooter, Ron Baker, and Carl Hall, who, at the time of his injury, was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. Throw in the fact that the Shockers were supposed to be in the midst of a rebuilding year because, you know, they lost their top five scorers from a season ago, and there wouldn’t be a single person that would be surprised if Gregg Marshall’s club was scooting along in the bottom half of the always-crazy Missouri Valley.

But no.

After an 82-76 win over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night, Wichita State is 15-1 on the season, 4-0 in the Valley ranked in the top 25. And Early is the biggest reason why. The 6-foot-8 JuCo transfer and Middletown, NY, native went for 39 points in last night’s win, shooting 13-19 from the floor and 5-9 from three as the Shockers came back from an 11 point halftime deficit to beat the Salukis. This came just one game after Early went for 24 points as the Shockers knocked off Bradley on the road.

Now it would be tough to credit Marshall for Early’s performance the past two games. That’s simply a great player being a great player.

But it is easy to credit Marshall for putting his team and his program in a position where they are not only prepared to weather the departure of their top five scorers, but the injury to three starters the following season as well. Marshall is consistently underrated and forgotten when discussing the best coaches in the country, but there no one has done a better job than he has this season.

With all due respect to Tubby Smith, John Groce, Larry Shyatt and every other coach having a great year, if the season ended today, Gregg Marshall would get my mythical vote for National Coach of the Year.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. San Diego hires New Mexico assistant Lamont Smith as new head coach

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Lamont Smith, right, is San Diego's new head coach (Getty Images) Getty Images

    San Diego turned to a former player to lead the basketball program.

  2. Washington State losing three players to transfer

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Jackie Davis, Brett Boese, Lucas O'Brien AP

    Head coach Ernie Kent is losing three first-year players after his first season at the helm.

  3. Report: Murray State guard Cameron Payne heavily considering NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    Cameron Payne, Reece Chamberlain AP

    Could Murray State guard Cameron Payne enter the NBA Draft?

  4. UNLV’s Rashad Vaughn signs an agent and enters NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    UNLV officially loses Rashad Vaughn to the NBA Draft.

  5. Rhode Island lands impact transfer from Towson

    Mar 31, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT

    BB&T Classic Getty Images

    Rhode Island landed an impact transfer on Tuesday.

  6. Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera heading to NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Georgetown takes a major hit with the loss of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

  7. Southern Illinois loses five to transfer, coach rips the decisions

    Mar 31, 2015, 3:22 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Barry Hinson is not happy about losing the players he brought into the program.

  8. Highlights of the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest (VIDEO)

    Mar 31, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT

    Dwayne Bacon, Jalen Rose Dwayne Bacon, Jalen Rose

    It wasn’t as good as the last two years, but there were still some impressive dunks.

  9. Kentucky, Wisconsin join short list of Final Four rematches

    Mar 31, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT

    So we meet again... (AP Photo) AP

    Teams that won the first meeting have won three of the four Final Four/title game rematches, with Duke (1990-91) being the lone exception.

  10. LSU’s Jordan Mickey to enter the NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Mickey is the second player from LSU to declare this month.

  11. Indiana’s 1976 undefeated team is rooting for Kentucky to go 40-0

    Mar 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Bobby Knight would probably not approve of that.

  12. Cleveland State to lose Trey Lewis to transfer

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Lewis will have some well known suitors this offseason.

  13. Rick Barnes will be the next head coach at Tennessee

    Mar 31, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Barnes spent the last 17 seasons at Texas.

  14. UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland, all No. 1 seeds, advance to women’s Final Four

    Mar 30, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Brianna Turner AP

    UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland make up the 2015 women’s Final Four.

  15. Sources: Johnathan Williams III expected to transfer from Missouri

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:24 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Williams was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Tigers this season.

  16. Nebraska forward giving up basketball for senior season

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Nebraska forward Walter Pitchford is giving up basketball for his senior season.