Remember Larry Nance? The 6-10 forward played in the NBA from 1981 to 1994. He scored more than 15,000 career points, grabbed more than 7,000 career rebounds, was named to three All-Star teams and won the 1984 Slam Dunk Contest.
Well, his son appears to be following in his footsteps. Larry Nance Jr. scored double figures for the 11th straight game Wednesday, leading Wyoming (19-4, 8-2) to a 59-48 win over Colorado State (19-4, 6-4). It was Wyoming’s first season sweep of the Rams since 2009.
Nance Jr. had 19 points and 10 rebounds – which, coincidentally, is the same number of boards that Scott Ferrall had in his men’s league game that night.
“I think yours is more impressive,” Nance Jr. said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Because leaving the ground wasn’t an option for you.”
Truthfully, Nance Jr. was borderline unstoppable Wednesday. Aside from the 19 and 10, he also had four blocks and three steals.
“We really pride ourselves on defense here,” he said. “I’m just an extension of the coaching staff.”
Nance Jr. also made two three-pointers and was a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line. My gosh, what didn’t he do last night?
“Here’s one thing I couldn’t do,” he said. “Stop the other guy. He had 18 as well.”
Indeed, J.J. Avila had 18 points and 12 boards for Colorado State.
“Every time we play, it’s been a battle,” the 6-8 Nance Jr. said. “So I always look forward to playing against him because he’s a good, hard-working kid who I always have good battles against.”
Avila played 39 minutes, while Nance Jr. played 33.
“I just came off of knee surgery, so Coach (Larry Shyatt) doesn’t want to push it too hard,” Nance Jr. said. “Playing 40 minutes, playing 39 minutes, that’s pretty tough on those knees. Coach has a pretty good gauge on when I’m getting tired and when I should come out. I appreciate when he does because if it was up to me, I’d play all 40.”
Nance Jr. said his father helped with his game as much as he could growing up, but it took a while for Nance to teach his son a few things in the paint.
“I didn’t really start posting up until junior year of high school,” Nance Jr. said. “Until then, I was a guard. I was little, so I guess that’s where some of my outside shooting comes from. But once I hit about 6-4 in high school, he really started working with me and showing me hook-shots, fade-aways, all the fun little pivot moves that he learned in the league.”
It boggles Ferrall’s mind that Nance Jr., a kid from Akron, ended up in Laramie, Wyoming. Nance Jr. said he got interest from Michigan and Michigan State, but neither school ever made an official offer.
As for Akron? The Zips never even reached out.
“I never heard from Akron, and I’m pretty glad I didn’t,” Nance Jr. said. “Being out here has been one of the greatest things to happen to me, and I’d have to say it’s working out pretty well.”