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Shocker Men's Basketball: A Candid Look

Carla Eckels

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Mar. 1, 2014.

The second-ranked Wichita State Shockers continued their winning streak Saturday with a 31-0 record, beating Missouri State.  The men made history last week, by becoming the first and only college basketball team to finish 30-0 in a regular season, the same night they clinched the Missouri Valley Conference title.  Sports analysts say the undefeated ball players have a genuine sense of brotherhood.

Cleanthony Early, who's majoring in Sports Management, and Fred VanVleet, a Sociology major, sat down for a candid interview about the team's dynamic on and off the court.

VanVleet on what makes a person successful

"I think people got to find something they like and find a plan and stick to it.  Be realistic with yourself - don't set your goals off of TV or music," VanVleet said. "Everybody's not going to have $50-million a year... it's okay to be a teacher, or to be a firefighter, as long as you can provide for yourself and your family... whatever you like, just find it and master it, love it and then don't let anyone tell you you can't do it."

Credit Carla Eckels
Shocker players huddle up after a play during the Feb. 11 game against Southern Illinois. WSU defeated the Salukis 78-67.

Credit Carla Eckels
Cleanthony Early and his mom, Sandra Glover, celebrate undefeated season 31-0 with a win on Saturday over Missouri State 68-45.

Early on living with his teammates

"I live with Nick (Wiggins) and CJ (Chadrack Lufile). I do the dishes, the garbage, I do everything clean," Early said. "That’s something that my mom instilled in me.  We're a bunch of guys, and we're gonna live like guys, you know? ... It's like you need someone to be like, 'Clean your room!' ... It's kind of like I hear her voice, and she's not even here.  The first thing she said when she came in here and she seen the crib she was like, 'Oh man, no! You guys better clean this!' We literally - five seconds after her walking in - everyone's grabbing garbage . . .  cleaning the tables off - it's so crazy. It was so funny."

Credit Carla Eckels
WSU's Ron Baker breaks past Southern Illinois players on Feb. 11, dunks

Credit Carla Eckels
Shocker fans fill "The Roundhouse", some hold large photos of starters (L to R) Chadrack Lufile, Ron Baker, Cleanthony Early and Fred VanVleet.

From the play-by-play desk

"They really like and care about each other," long-time Shocker play-by-play announcer Mike Kennedy says.  "They can kid each other; they can give each other a hard time once in a while but in a fun sort of way... They root for each other, and they really are the true epitome of what a 'team' should be."

Tad’s Locker Room in east Wichita features a lot of black and gold sports apparel. Owner Tad Snarenberger says he’s seen a significant boost in sales as the Shockers have continued their winning streak.

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Mar. 1, 2014.

See our coverage of the MVC tournament here.