2011 Q&A: Larry Nance Jr.


I caught up with a player who has just recently popped up on Michigan’s recruiting radar, 2011 forward/wing Larry Nance Jr. (profile & video) I talked to Larry about his game, what Michigan has told him regarding an offer and what he thinks of the Wolverines.

Describe your game. I just feel like I’m a versatile 3-4 man. I’m 6-7. I feel like I can play pretty much any position on the floor, guard any position on the floor and, I mean, I score inside-out and I get a lot of rebounds.

You grew quite a bit recently, correct? Yes. From my sophomore year to my senior year I grew six inches and put on 75 pounds.

How has that affected your game? As a sophomore, I didn’t start on J.V. and over that summer I just grew, worked on my game and I’ve turned into a varsity starter. It’s changed me from just a standing-around 3-point shooter to more of a swing 3-man who can shoot 3’s also.

So would you say you have good guard skills for a big man? Yes. I mean, I’ve always been a point guard on every team I’ve played on all my life. Then all the sudden last year I had to change to a big. I feel like it helped a ton with footwork, ballhandling and shooting.

Do you feel comfortable in the post? I really do. That’s definitely, I feel, a strong point in my game. I have quite a few post moves that work.

How has the season gone for your high school team? Great. We’re 14-1 right now and ranked in the top-25 in our state.

How has the season gone for you personally? Good. I mean, I’m averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds. Really good. Recently teams have tried to double-team me and triple-team me and tried to slow us down but a lot of guys on our team have stepped up.

Which Michigan coaches have been talking with you? I’ve spoken with Coach Meyer and Coach Beilein quite often, actually.

Have they been at practices or games? Yeah, Coach Meyer was at my game this past Tuesday.

Have you been offered by Michigan? I have not, no.

What are Michigan coaches telling you regarding an offer? They just say they have one scholarship available and if I keep showing them what they like to see, I’m definitely in the running for it.

Have they given you any sort of time frame on when they would make a decision? No, they haven’t told me any specific time.

Any other offers on the table? I have some MAC offers, Horizon League and A10.

Should Michigan offer, would they be number one on your list? They’d very much be first.

Have you visited? I came up for the home Penn State game.

What’d you think? It’s awesome. It really is. It’s a great atmosphere.

Any other Michigan visits planned? Yeah, we’re hoping to catch another game real soon once the coaching staff is real, like, not busy for a weekend, then we’re going to head up there and actually visit.

What do you like about Michigan? I really like the way coach Beilein coaches, I like that it seems like every player on the team is a good person, a good player and good to be around. Coming from Ohio I know it’s uncommon, but I’ve always been really rooting for Michigan. I really think it’s a cool place to be.

How do you see yourself fitting into Michigan’s offense? I think right now they might not have that slashing, athletic presence who plays above the rim and I think I could provide that.

Anything specific you’re focused on improving about your game right now? Rebounding. Offensive rebounding and just going after every ball.

Any player (besides maybe your father, Larry Nance Sr.) who people compare you to? Actually, a lot of my friends say I play like Rudy Gay for the Memphis Grizzlies.

  • Josh

    I want this guy. Just because I want all NBA sons, all the time.

  • jihadistjohn

    starting to become more and more of a mystery how juwan jr. ended up in k-zoo and the son of The Greatest Wolverine of All Time is currently at georgia tech…regardless of that, if we sign this kid and he’s even half of what THJ is, it’d be a steal…nothing wrong with targeting late bloomers if you’re that good at finding them…that some of them come from a “legacy” is merely a bonus

    • Kenny

      No mystery. Juwan Jr was never offerred and kids do not want to live under the shadow of their fathers, seeing dad’s jerseys hang above their head every day. Glen Rice Jr goes somewhere else the same reason Glenn Robinson Jr is not going to play for Purdue.

      • jihadistjohn

        should’ve specified that the mystery was beilein not going after howard or rice and nothing to do with the kids themselves or who was offered…yes, i know he gave rice a brief look…and i disagree with you to an extent…rice jr. should’ve been an automatic, even if he never picked up a basketball in his life…there is no more important figure in the history of the program, and he provided me the greatest moment i’ve ever had as a sports fan…what’s going on now is the equivalent of when patrick ewing jr. was a hoosier…thankfully, that wrong was righted via transfer…juwan jr. was the classic late bloomer, the kind of player we’ve been discussing, and is clearly good enough to play in the B10…please don’t interpret this as me being frustrated by any of beilein’s recruiting tactics

        • Dylan Burkhardt

          We went after Rice, he just was interested in staying in Georgia and things never really heated up.

          Juwan has done some things but he is “clearly good enough to play in the B10” because he’s the sixth man on an average Western Michigan team?

          • jihadistjohn

            fair enough…and you’re very generous calling WMU “average” :-)

            juwan’s had a few explosive games and it seems fairly obvious to me he’ll grow into an outstanding player at the MAC level…he’s an 18 year old true freshman that’s battled some nagging injuries…not bad for a kid that barely started at detroit pershing

    • CJD

      I talked to Glen Rice Sr in Atlantic City and he simply stated that Michigan did not recruit his son and when he had a chance to land at Tech he took it. Michigan missed out is all; it happens….

      • Dylan Burkhardt


        They did recruit him but it was a bit late and he kind of got lost in flux between the two staffs — didn’t really enjoy himself in Ann Arbor when he came for camp under Amaker and Georgia Tech was the home school and on him early and often.

  • Mattski

    Could be completely wrong, but I see more upside in Nance than Bielfeldt. Also–again speaking without any real expertise–it looks like his frame, once filled out, might be pretty powerful.

  • Paul

    I too think he has more upside than Bielfeldt, but if Bielfeldt truly is J Morgan II (after last night’s Northwestern game especially) that’s not all bad though either!

    • YpsiTuckyBoy

      I think Bielfeldt is JMII if we’re really lucky. Morgan has deceivingly good footwork for a guy his size and age. Bielfeldt seems to have good footwork, but that footwork looks substantially slower. I don’t think you’re gonna ever see Bielfeldt playing above the rim.

  • Brian W

    Nice interview. He seems like a good kid with some nice upside. His dad was 6-10, so maybe he has a little more growing left. Will be interesting to see what happens with the scholarship… The photo in the article reminds me of when I saw Chris Webber dunk over Jason Bossard during a U-M scrimmage.

    Glenn Robinson III was named as one of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association’s Pacers-Fever Players of the Week. Gary Harris and Cody Zeller also earned the honor.


    Purdue assistant Mike Jackson has been suspended indefinitely…


    • Brian W

      Ha. I guess “upside” is the word of the night. I was hunting down links for a little while and started writing this before I saw the two previous posts . Potential would be a good word too. :)

  • Dylan Burkhardt

    Sorry guys, going to delete links to a Rivals article that’s just a regurgitation of newspaper stories and quotes that we’ve been talking about here for the last week.

  • Brian W

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer posted a nice article about Larry Nance Jr. and his team tonight…


    Alabama has offered Jordan Hare a scholarship. The Seattle Times link below mentions Rivals, but I don’t see an article there. Rivals is showing an offer from Alabama, though.


  • Slightly off topic but Izzo almost got Appling and Roe killed tonight trying to get Draymond Green a triple double. MSU was up double digits and Izzo keeps all of his starters on the floor say Dray can get his 10 assist. Izzo even called a timeout in the last minute to set something up so Draymond could get his assist. I don’t think DeChillis liked the “rubbing his nose into it” routine Izzy was pulliing and on back to back plays, Appling got fouled hard and then Roe got drilled from behind and landed badly on his already bad knee. It could have got pretty ugly if it would have gone on much longer. It just seemed cheap to me to have Iz pulling this stunt. I don’t blame the Penn St coach for anything that happened on the floor.

    • grandchamp

      Well they needed something to be proud about this season. lollll

      I’m sure MSU fans will defend it since it was Izzo.

    • Kenny

      not to defend Izzo but Penn St deserves every bit of it too. Morris forgo a dunk at the end of the game and they refused to let him dribble out the last 10 seconds, even called a time-out trying to steal the game back. Not much class either. yes, Morris should’ve known better that our lead was not big enough, but it was cheap trying to take advantage of a good will from a 19 year old. I am not accusing the Penn St players keeping playing and fouling Morris, but calling another time-out is too much.

      • gobluetwo

        I absolutely disagree with you. Completely different situation. If you didn’t notice, PSU was desperately trying to win that game and were within 5 after Darius missed his FT. Stranger things have happened than a team coming back from 5 with 8 seconds to go. I guess you don’t remember Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in under 10 seconds to lead a Pacers comeback against the Knicks 15 years ago. I’d rather have my team try to win than just concede the game like that.

  • tin mad dog

    That’s an impressive photo of Nance Jr. and I like that he used to play PG before his growth spurt.

  • billiam

    I KNEW he must have played guard. Although, the fact that he wasn’t driving as a guard (read “I stood in the corner and shot threes”) is a little underwhelming, I’m sure I’ll take Belein’s judgment on this one.

    – Actually, a decently eloquent kid. I like that, and respect him more for it. I also like that he’s working on offensive rebounding…who do you know that does THAT!
    – Let’s hope he can be a slasher. We have been saying we need more of those types of guys. If he did play guard, and just got taller, that sounds like a good slasher. He’s most likely played his whole life (before the growth spurt) learning to drive, and he’s got athleticism from his dad. If he grows into his frame (which college kids do) then I think he’ll be a good player. Size (6’7 and growing) and athleticism: two things which we all wanted.
    – If he’s on a top 25 team in state, he’s most likely playing good competition, so there will be plenty of opportunity to see his talent for Coach B
    – FEARS: Colton Christian. Nothing against the kid, but I don’t see him becoming a player for the next few years. If this kid is the same (which I don’t know) then why waste a scholly on him. I hope he’s not, but I simply don’t know, so I fear.


    Get him, his game smooth almost old school in the post and he can jump out the roof, if we all looking at the same pics and videos. I don’t understand the debate when we all know we need more athletes. He’s a legacy recruit who may be an under the radar steal and isn’t that John Beilein’s m. o. these days? LNJ has more upside period and though logic dictates that you should always go with the sure thing, in that Bielfeldt could be a baby J Mo, I would go against the grain in this case because I love the potential. Larry Nance jr for me…

  • Section13Row15

    We have 5 Biefeldt’s already on our team. We don’t have a Larry Nance Jr. on this team. End of story.

    • tin mad dog

      Maybe we can give the scholly to Nance and Max could be a preferred walk-on?

      Is there a limit on preferred walk-ons? I know we already have one coming in and I think Dumars is another one.

      • BlimpyBlue

        Max has the option of being a preferred walk-on at Illinois, so he’s definitely going there if he doesn’t have a scholarship offer elsewhere. In my opinion, even if he does have a scholarship offer somewhere else, there’s a very good chance he’ll still go the preferred walk-on route at Illinois.

  • Alex

    Those are some decent offers if the teams are from the middle to upper tiers of those leagues. Size and athleticism sounds good. Guess it could go either way so thankfully we have good coaches that can make the right decision.

  • Johnnyumfan

    I think Larry Nance Jr. is worth the risk. Beilein needs more athletic players in the frontcourt and Tim Hardaway Jr. is the only slasher on the team. Novak tries to drive on occasion but has trouble finishing at the rim, no hops. LNJ would give UM another player who can play above the rim. His length would also be a factor on defense as a shot blocker.

    But since Beilein has not made up his mind yet, he might be more interested in Max B because he might be a safer pick. However, you can’t teach atleticism. I hope LNJ is blue.