Nance Jr. measures up at NBA Draft Combine

Former Wyoming men’s basketball player (kind of sounds weird to read that, doesn’t it) Larry Nance Jr. is currently at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and will be there through the weekend.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Similar to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, players go through a wide range of sport-specific tests. With the NBA Draft Combine, players also will play games for scouts and NBA team officials to watch, and interviews will be held.

Here are some of Nance’s specifics:

Height without shoes: 6-7 1/2

Height with shoes: 6-8 1/2

Weight: 226.6

Body fat percentage: 6.4

Hand length: 9.0 inches

Hand width: 9.75 inches

Standing reach: 9 feet

Wingspan: 7-feet, 1.5 inches

Lane agility time: 10.89 seconds

Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds

3/4-court sprint: 3.25 seconds

Standing vertical jump: 29 inches

Maximum vertical jump: 37.5 inches. That tied for the best jump among all power forwards at the combine.

Here’s the link to all the measurables for all the players at this year’s NBA Draft Combine:
http://stats.nba.com/draftcombine/#!/anthro/?ls=iref:nba:specialst3b

Nance played in the Combine’s first 5-on-5 game Thursday afternoon, and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 minutes. He was 3 of 6 from the field and had five offensive rebounds. Nance was 2 of 7 from the free-throw line, which is uncharacteristic of him as he was well over a 70 percent free-throw shooter at UW.

Friday, Nance had four points, seven rebounds (four offensive), four turnovers and three fouls. He was 2 of 5 from the field.

Nance received some high praise from the broadcast team from ESPN2 during Thursday’s game. Friday, ESPN’s Fran Frachilla said he thinks Nance will be drafted in the second round, but may spend some time in the NBA’s Developmental League..

Nance will not be with four of his senior teammates in Laramie this weekend for graduation ceremonies. However, UW sent this picture of those guys along with coach Larry Shyatt.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men's basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men’s basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

VIDEO: Wyoming wins MW Tournament with 45-43 win over San Diego State

Normally I do my three takes from a Wyoming win or loss in men’s basketball.

Hard to put the Cowboys’ 45-43 win over San Diego State to win the Mountain West Tournament Saturday into words. The fourth-seeded Cowboys (25-9) won its first-ever MW Tournament, and its first conference tournament since 1988 when it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference.

So, I will let you watch three videos from the game. The first is some of the late-game highlights — which includes a huge 3-pointer from junior guard Josh Adams and two free throws by senior forward Derek Cooke Jr.

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UW 67, Utah State 65: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 67-65 win over Utah State in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament Thursday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Charles Hankerson Jr.

Charles Hankerson Jr.

1. Charles in charge: Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. silenced a lot of his critics with a career-high 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting. Hankerson also had five rebounds. Yes, he missed two free throws late that would have sealed the game in the final seconds, but his shooting and slashing to the basket were two of the biggest factors in UW’s win. At the time, no one other than junior guard Josh Adams was consistently scoring, and Hankerson’s offense not only gave UW a boost, but sparked other guys like senior forward Larry Nance Jr. and senior guard Riley Grabau — who all scored in double figures.

Josh Adams

Josh Adams

2. Adams’ A-game: A game-high 19 points to go along with six assists and only two turnovers. In his last two games against Utah State, Adams has 37 points, 14 assists and two turnovers. He was aggressive with the ball, had some spectacular plays around the basket, including a follow-up dunk in the second half that had him trending nationally on Twitter for a while, and also part of ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays. When Adams plays like that, UW is more than formidable. He will be tested in Friday night’s semifinals as he likely will be guarding Boise State senior guard Derrick Marks, the Mountain West Player of the Year.

Here is coach Larry Shyatt, Adams, Nance and Hankerson after the game:


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Wyoming 76, Utah State 53: 3 takes, notes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 76-53 victory over Utah State Wednesday night.

1. That’s more like it: UW played better defense as the 53 points was the second-lowest point total its allowed in Mountain West play this season. Utah State shot a respectable 45.8 percent, but was just 6 of 18 from 3-point range. The Cowboys forced 11 turnovers and scored 15 points off those mistakes. The Cowboys also didn’t allow any second-chance points, and held a 30-21 rebounding edge. The Cowboys did a good job of going after Utah State redshirt freshman forward David Collette, who had 10 points in 5 of 6 shooting, but he wasn’t much of a factor in the game. The Cowboys never trailed in the game. This was the UW team many fans were used to seeing much of this season.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

2. Nifty Nance: Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. had his seventh double-double of the season and 18th of his career with 21 points and 10 rebounds — both game highs. But what stood out about Nance’s game was his ability to hit short to mid-range jumpers. Seven of his nine baskets were jumpers, which Utah State was willing to give him. If Nance can continue to hit those shots, he becomes much more difficult to defend. Perhaps it was the emotion of senior night, but Nance looked more like the preseason player of the year in the MW in this game, and looked like he is on the tail end of recovering from mononucleosis — good news for the Cowboys as tournament time approaches.

Here are some second half highlights — along with some special events late and after the game — along with the post-game interview session with all five UW seniors:



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UW vs. Utah State men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming’s regular-season home-finale against Utah State, which starts at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Riley Grabau

Riley Grabau

1. Perimeter defense: UW has lost four of its last six games, and in all of those losses they’ve allowed 10 3-pointers three times, and 11 in last Saturday’s loss at UNLV. Utah State shoots about 40 percent from behind the arc, and will have three or four guys on the floor most of the time that shoots between 40 and 50 percent. The Cowboys must do a better job defending the perimeter because if Utah State gets hot from long range, they will be in for a long night.

“Yeah, I think we’re a little out of rhythm. I think we getting back to where we were at the start of the year. We need to get tougher on the defensive end. Coach (Larry Shyatt) said we need to get tougher on the defensive end and I agree with him, we do.” — UW senior guard Riley Grabau

Here is my video preview of the game:


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UW-Nevada men’s basketball: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 64-58 win at Nevada Tuesday night at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

1. Tale of two halves: Simply put, UW was awful in the first half and awful good in the second. The Cowboys were 6 of 23 from the field in the first half, and even missed all five

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

of its free throws — all by guards. The Cowboys were trying to drive to the basket, but Nevada did a good job of blocking shots and stopping that. UW had open outside shots, but it couldn’t hit them. But in the second half, after the Cowboys hit a few outside shots, they looked like the team that ran the floor in transition against San Jose State last Saturday in Laramie. The Cowboys shot 61.5 percent in the second half (16 of 25) and made 5 of 8 3-pointers. “I credit our assistant coaches for grinding, and I credit our players because to me this was one of the most incredible I’ve ever been part of on the road,” coach Larry Shyatt said.

Here are some of the late second half highlights as UW took the lead with 4:25 to play after a 3-pointer by redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen, and never gave it back up.

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UW at Nevada men’s hoops: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

Here are my three keys for the Wyoming men’s basketball team for its game tonight at Nevada. Tip time is 8 p.m. MT from the Lawlor Events Center, and the game will be televised online only by the Mountain West Digital Network.

1. Crash the boards: Nevada can really rebound, especially on the offensive glass. UW must not allow the Wolf Pack to get second and third chances at shots. That won’t be

AJ West

AJ West

easy without senior forward Larry Nance Jr. (mono), and the fact Nevada has one of the best rebounders and big men in the Mountain West in junior AJ West — one of 18 players in the nation to average a double-double (12.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg). The Cowboys won the rebounding battle with Nevada in their 63-55 win Jan. 31 in Laramie as they held a 34-24 edge and 12-9 on the offensive glass. If they can do that again, or even stay even, that would be a huge advantage for the Pokes. Nevada enters the game fifth in the nation with 15.3 offensive rebounds per game.

“West is one of the better players in the conference. Controlling and limiting him and his opportunities, along with a lot of their other guys are going to be critical in the game,” UW senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. said.

Here is my preview video on the game:


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UW-Nevada men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal, on Tuesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

The game starts at 8 p.m. MT at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

Follow on Twitter: @MurrayRGJ

Chris Murray

Chris Murray

You reported that Nevada went to a four-guard lineup for much of its second-half rally in its overtime win over New Mexico Saturday. Is that something we could see a lot of in the game with Wyoming?

I asked coach David Carter that after the game. He said the move was largely a response to New Mexico using a zone defense and he wanted some players on the court who could make plays off the dribble and didn’t see this as a long-term change. However, if Wyoming goes small without Larry Nance Jr., I could see Nevada moving to the four-guard lineup because it was much more effective than the traditional lineup. Plus, Nevada is without two of its top three frontcourt players in Robyn Missa (knee; out the last five games) and Ronnie Stevens Jr. (leg; probably out for his career). So, it would make a lot of sense to see four guards out there, although Carter has no said as much.

 

Forward AJ West was plagued with foul trouble in the first half at Wyoming on Jan. 31, but played well in the second half. How big of a factor could he be against Wyoming since the Cowboys won’t have Nance?

AJ West

AJ West

West is the key to every Wolf Pack game. He’s the team’s best player and his ability to offensive rebound makes the Nevada offense somewhat competent. He struggled with fouls against Wyoming and struggled to get the ball as the Cowboys fronted him, which frustrated him. He did spark to life in the second half, but needs to play a complete game with Nance out. West said he was surprised at how good Derek Cooke Jr. was in the first game, so expect West to be prepared for a tough battle inside even with Nance out. Nevada’s frontcourt was dominated in the game between these teams last month, so they should be out for some revenge.

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UW-San Jose State men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 77-60 victory over San Jose State Saturday in front of 7,870 fans at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. Adams’ A-game: UW junior guard Josh Adams played one of his better games of the season, and also over the last month or so. Adams finished with a game-high 26 points —

Josh Adams

Josh Adams

three off his career-high. He also matched his season-high with seven assists — one shy of his career-best — and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds — again, one shy of his career-high. Adams did have four turnovers, but for the most part he made good decisions with the ball. He made some spectacular plays passing the ball, and had an acrobatic layup where the ball banked off the top of the backboard. UW needs Adams to play like that from here on out, especially with senior forward Larry Nance Jr. still out with mononucleosis. When Adams attacks the basket like he did, makes good decisions and does a lot of the things he did in this game, UW will have a chance to win.

Here are some video highlights from the game:


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UW-Air Force men’s hoops; 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming’s game today at Air Force, which starts at noon MT and will be televised on Root Sports.

1. Come together: The news Friday morning rocked everyone who follows UW basketball when the school announced that senior forward Larry Nance Jr. has a mild

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

case of mononucleosis. Not sure what “mild” means, but he is listed as day-to-day. I will be surprised if he plays, and many remember what happened when Nance hurt his knee last year. But it’s way too early to hit the panic button with this. Yes, it’s not good or ideal, but if Nance misses a game or two, fine — as long as he gets better. A silver lining in all this is UW has a lot of players that has been through this kind of adversity, and it needs to feed off that with guys like senior guards Riley Grabau and Charles Hankerson Jr., senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. and junior guard Josh Adams. The Cowboys need to come together as a team, and has the make-up to do so.

Here is my video preview of today’s game:

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