Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 27th pick of the first round in Thursday night’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. He is the 28th Cowboy taken in the NBA draft and first since Theo Ratliff in 1995.
“This means the world to me,” Nance said. “All the hard work that has been put in and the time and the effort. Just to hear my name called was surreal. It hasn’t set in yet. And the Lakers are such a historic franchise. Hopefully I can come in with the other guys that were drafted and continue that culture. I’m excited to see what the next step has in store for me.”
Nance capped his career at Wyoming this spring by leading the Pokes to a 25-10 overall record for the program’s first-ever Mountain West tournament title and first NCAA Championships appearance since 2002. The 6-8, 235-pound forward paced the Cowboys at 16.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, while adding 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals. His 51 percent from the field was third in the MW and 60th in the NCAA. He notched seven double-doubles during the season, including 10 games with 20-or-more points. For his efforts, Nance was named to the All-MW First Team, All-Defensive Team, All-Tournament Team and the MW’s co-Defensive Player of the Year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
For his career, Nance finished 16th in Wyoming history in points (1,386), ninth in rebounds (807), fifth in blocks (135), fifth in steals (141), eighth in games played (123) and 13th in games started (90). He accrued 63 games with double-figure points, including 17 20-point games, and 18 double-doubles.
Ratliff was selected with the 18th pick in the first round of the 1995 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Bill Garnett is the highest Cowboy ever drafted after he was picked fourth in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1982 draft. Nance’s father, Larry Nance Sr., played his collegiate career for Clemson and was drafted with the 20th pick of the first round by the Phoenix Suns in 1981.