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2015 March Madness: Larry Nance Jr. Leads Wyoming Into Tournament After Overcoming Long Odds


March 16, 2015

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Larry Nance Jr. may never have the same NBA career as his father, Larry Nance Sr. However, he has already gained quite the following, as the lightly-recruited senior has led Wyoming to the  NCAA Tournament.

Playing for Revere High School, located just outside of Akron, Ohio, Nance seemed like anything but a sure thing.  Unlike most top high school prodigies, Nance Jr. didn’t start on the school’s varsity team. He was just a small 5-11 guard playing for the freshman squad.

During Nance’s sophomore year he grew to 6’1 and advanced to junior varsity, but something was amiss. There wasn’t a passion or desire to play the game, and the reason why changed him forever.

Nance Jr. was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is a disorder that affects the digestive tract. You can attribute the Crohn’s to his lack of growth and lethargic attitude towards basketball.

To get himself back on track, Nance Jr. went on Remicade, a drug used to help cope with diseases such as his. The effects were  seen almost instantaneously.

As a result of the Remicade, Nance Jr. saw a three-inch height gain during his junior year, and when he reached his senior season Nance Jr. was a stout 6-7. He averaged 18.2 ppg, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during his final year in high school. Although, despite his impressive statistics,  the collegiate offers never came.

A lack of exposure hurt Nance Jr., as he didn’t participate in any AAU basketball events going into his senior year. In addition, he was still a very green prospect, and didn’t have the body type as most top college recruits.

That’s not to say there weren’t any offers for Nance Jr, as father Larry Nance Sr. stated that Cleveland State had interest in his son. However, the school opted to sign fellow Northeast Ohio star, Anton Grady, instead.

With very few schools interested in his services, Nance Jr. took a visit to Wyoming. Waiting for him was new coach, Larry Shyatt, who hails from the Northeast Ohio suburb of Cleveland Heights. Nance Jr. fell in love with the campus and was enamored with coach Shyatt.

Larry Nance Jr. made his decision. He was going to play college basketball at Wyoming.

The 2014-15 season has been Nance Jr’s best, as the senior forward is averaging 16.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game for the Cowboys. His athleticism has really shown as well, as most refer to Nance as one of the best dunkers in the country.

It’s been a long and grinding road for Larry Nance Jr., one that has led him to the NCAA Tournament. He has taken Wyoming basketball to new heights, and in the process has left those coaches who didn’t recruit him speechless.

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