Larry Nance Jr. seemed surprised when I told him Monday morning he earned national player of the week honors by NBCSports.com and from Andy Katz of ESPN. A little later, the Mountain West named Nance its player of the week.
Nance averaged 23.5 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and 1.5 steals per game as he led the Cowboys to wins over UNLV and San Jose State last week to open conference play.
Over UW’s last three games, he’s scored 78 points — the second-most points over a three-game stretch since he’s been at Wyoming.
The always humble Nance said he’s just happy his team has won five straight games, and is 13-2 overall, 2-0 in the MW heading into the Border War at Colorado State (14-1, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Nance is averaging 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocked shots. His scoring, rebounding and assist numbers are on pace to surpass last season’s averages, which earned him First Team All-MW honors and a spot on the all-defensive team. Nance is shooting 58.1 percent from the field, compared to 54.4 percent last season.
The media voted Nance as the preseason MW Player of the Year. I think he’s living up to that billing so far this season.
“I’ve always been pleased with Larry because it starts off the floor,” coach Larry Shyatt said. “I think he’s doing a great job on both ends of the floor. He’s the captain of our defense, and the most important player on that side of the floor. Because of match-ups and foul trouble (for the opposing team) last couple of games, he’s had a chance to get the ball a lot more. He has to do more than just score for us. He’s a great defensive rebounder.”
Nance is third in the MW in defensive rebounds (5.4 per game).