Jeff Early named captain of MVC's Most-Improved team

    Jeff Early improved his scoring average 4.5 points over last season.

    Jeff Early improved his scoring average 4.5 points over last season.
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    March 6, 2013

    ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Senior Jeff Early of Southern Illinois and junior Ethan Wragge of Creighton headline the list of selections for the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference specialty teams for men's basketball.

    Early, a native of Glasgow, Va., is the league's Team Captain for the Most-Improved Team. Wragge, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., has been tabbed the conference's Team Captain for the All-Bench Team.

    In his second year at Southern Illinois, Early has improved his statistics in every category, including scoring (8.6 ppg to 13.1 ppg), rebounding (3.8 rpg to 7.4 rpg), FG percentage (.453 to .512), 3FG percentage (.176 to .250), FT percentage (.614 to .735), steals (1.2 to 1.7). The senior has eight double-doubles on the season after recording one last year. He leads the nation in rebounding among players 6-foot-1 and under. He is joined on the Most-Improved Unit by Creighton's Austin Chatman, Illinois State's Johnny Hill, and Bradley teammates Walt Lemon, Jr., and Dyricus Simms-Edwards.

    Wragge has averaged 7.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 16.8 minutes per game (all off the bench) for the regular-season champion Creighton Bluejays. He ranks fourth in the MVC with 68 three-pointers made and sixth with 43.0 percent marksmanship from downtown. Wragge owns three games with six or more three-pointers this season and nine games in double-figures. He is joined on the team by D.J. Balentine of Evansville; Matt Bohannon of UNI; Nathan Scheer of Missouri State; Khristian Smith of Indiana State and Nick Wiggins of Wichita State.

    Student-Athlete, School
    *Jeff Early, Southern Illinois
    Austin Chatman, Creighton
    Johnny Hill, Illinois State
    Walt Lemon, Jr., Bradley
    Dyricus Simms-Edwards, Bradley

    Student-Athlete, School
    *Ethan Wragge, Creighton
    D.J. Balentine, Evansville
    Matt Bohannon, UNI
    Nathan Scheer, Missouri State
    Khristian Smith, Indiana State
    Nick Wiggins, Wichita State



    *--indicates team captain.