Dime Q&A: Cleanthony Early On ‘Melo, Phil & Some Light Rookie Hazing

LAS VEGAS — Cleanthony Early is a name that grew in the basketball community as result of Wichita State’s impressive and unexpected past season. Many projected the 6-7 forward as a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but it was the New York Knicks who were shrewd enough to select him when he fell to them in the second round with the No. 34 pick.

As I watched Early during Las Vegas summer league action over the weekend, his game appeared balanced and his demeanor perfect for the organization. Some general managers are going to rue the day they passed on Early as he seems poised to become a solid pro in every sense of the word. I caught up with Early for a brief chat as he was setting up to do a motion capture sequence for his inclusion in NBA 2K15.

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Dime: Have you ever been a part of anything like this before, doing a motion-capture sequence?
Cleanthony Early: No never. It’s pretty cool. I played 2K a lot with my friends.

Dime: Do you have a favorite NBA 2K and who do you run with when you play against your boys?
CE: I like the more recent ones because they are always improving and adding stuff to the game. We usually just play with random teams. Everybody likes to go after the top teams, OKC and Golden State, but we play randoms because we have been playing for a while.

Dime: So would you say that you are nice on 2K? What system do you play on Playstation or XBox?
CE: Yeah, I’m pretty good. And I play on both (systems). They are the same controllers really.

Dime: Transitioning to some on-the-court stuff…what do you think your role will be with Carmelo Anthony back in the fold?
CE: I’m real excited just to have him back. Just to have another great player there to help me develop as a person — I’m all for it.

Dime: Some might say you have come into a great situation with Phil Jackson in the front office and Derek Fisher as your head coach. What are your thoughts on that?
CE: It’s great because their experience is bar none. I mean we are talking about Phil Jackson, a former player and legendary coach and Derek Fisher also a former player. Both of those guys know the game in and out, so being able to learn under them is a dream come true.