ST. LOUIS -- Junior Ethan Wragge of Creighton and senior Jeff Early of Southern Illinois headline the list of selections for the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference specialty teams for men's basketball. Wragge, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., has been tabbed the conference's Team Captain for the All-Bench Team, while Early, a native of Glasgow, Va., is the league's Team Captain for the Most-Improved Team.
The Most-Improved Team also includes Creighton sophomore Austin Chatman.
The teams, which were selected by the league's newspaper beat writers, are comprised of a minimum of five student-athletes (top five vote-getters, plus ties) on each squad.
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.
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 Chatman, Illinois State's Johnny Hill, and Bradley teammates Walt Lemon, Jr., and Dyricus Simms-Edwards.
Chatman went from 2.4 points and 1.9 assists per game as a freshman to 7.7 points and 4.3 assists per game and a spot in the starting line-up for the league champion. A native of The Colony, Texas, Chatman also shot 46.4 percent from three-point range.
Creighton (24-7, 13-5 MVC) opens MVC Tournament play on Friday at 12:05 pm against the winner of Thursday night's game between Bradley and Drake.