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Talking Cavs, NBA Draft and Wyoming Basketball with Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr. is a 6'8" forward who started 33 games as a sophomore for Wyoming in 2012-13.

He averaged 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting a team-high 53 percent from the field.

Nance also posted 17 games in double-figure points, finishing the season ranked in the top 10 of six Mountain West Conference statistical categories.

So yes, the Northeast Ohio native from Revere High School is a flat-out baller whose dunks have already been featured on college basketball's dunk of the year lists.

In addition to all that, though, he is also a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Like a true, die-hard Cavs fan.

After spending this past season competing against future first round draft picks like Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State and others from the Mountain West Conference–while also leading his team to a second-straight 20-win season–we thought it would be good to catch up with Larry and talk all things basketball.

The son of Cavaliers legend Larry Nance broke down his past season, along with talking NBA Draft, life as a Cavs fan and dunking.
 

Stepien Rules: How did last season go for you and how are you feeling heading into next year?

Larry Nance Jr: I feel really good. I think last year was a success for us for the most part. We started off 13-0 as one of the hottest teams in the nation, but then we lost our best player to an off-the-court issue. Other than that, though, we had a very good season. Another 20-win season, so we're pretty proud of that. 

SR: Now that your season is over, and you're watching the NBA playoffs, what type of motivation does it give you and your teammates to see guys like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard from your conference advancing as far as they have?

LN: It gives us a lot of motivation. It just goes to show that you don't have to be a powerhouse school like Carolina or Duke to produce the players who have a chance to play in the NBA Finals. Paul George from Fresno, Kawhi from San Diego, Danny Granger from New Mexico, they're all definitely guys that we look up to and say it's possible we can be there one day.

SR: Speaking of some future NBA guys from the Mountain West, Cavs fans are hearing the names Anthony Bennett and Jamaal Franklin a lot lately. What can you tell fans about those two guys from playing against them this year?

LN: Anthony Bennett is one of the best offensive players I've ever played against or had the opportunity to see. He can score from the three or off-the-dribble, whether it be a pull-up or catch-and-shoot. He's just the real deal. Jamaal Franklin is a little bit of an undersized guy, but for him, it's just about how hard he plays. He's playing harder than everybody else, just working 100 percent all of the time. 

SR: You were a Cavs fan growing up, right? Still representing out there in Wyoming?

LN: Absolutely. I'm a huge supporter. 

SR: From that perspective, as a fan, are there any guys in particular you'd like to see Cleveland draft? Is Bennett possibly an option at the top of the board?

LN: Anthony Bennett would be great for the Cavs to get but we already have Tristan Thompson filling the power forward spot. As far as other guys, though, I really like Otto Porter. I like his skill-set and he just seems like a grounded and humble kid. I would love to see the Cavs get somebody like him. 

SR: Getting back to your game, leaving your Dad out of it, any players that you are working to model your game after?

LN: My favorite player in the NBA is Rudy Gay. I would love to play identical to him. The way he's very smooth with everything he does, it almost seems effortless when he's scoring 18-points per game. It's really awesome to see how smooth he is, and that's a guy I'd like to model my game after. 

SR: Growing up in the area, what are some of your earliest memories of the Cavs?

LN: I knew growing up that my Dad obviously had something to do with basketball but I wasn't old enough to comprehend him playing for the Cavs. The earliest team I can remember is with Chris Mihm, Lamond Murray and those guys. That's the earliest team I can remember. 

SR: What do you think about this current mix of young guys the Cavs have now? 

LN: I really like it, I'm a huge fan. Kyrie is obviously Kyrie. Dion Waiters will have a bright future, same with Tristan. But I'm also a huge fan of Alonzo Gee actually. He just seems like whoever he is playing against, night-in and night-out, he's just going to do what he does. Whether that's positive or negative, he's just going to do what he does.

SR: Every D-1 player obviously dreams about playing in the NBA, but is it an even bigger dream for you to possibly play for the Cavs specifically one day?

LN: I would absolutely love to play for the Cavs. Obviously any team in the NBA, but the Cavs are of course No. 1. My all-time dream would be to have two Nance jerseys hanging up there in the Q.

SR: What do you guys think about the mix you have coming back next year on your team?

LN: We're really excited about it. We will be losing our two top scorers, though, at 12-points per game each. I'll be our leading scorer returning and it's kind of my team now. So I'm real excited about that and everybody's looking forward to the year. Hopefully it's three 20-win seasons in a row.

SR: Meant to ask earlier, coming from Northeast Ohio, what's Wyoming been like in general?

LN: I absolutely love it. Northeast Ohio is a very green area with trees and grass and all that. Wyoming is completely different, with no trees, all dried up grass, but it is still one of the prettiest places you'll ever see with the mountains in the background. I really love it out there.

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SR: Your jumpman dunk…everyone knows that your Dad had a long list of great dunks in his career, but did he ever have a better one than yours against San Diego State?

LN: [Laughs] We talk about that all the time. He says I can't compare dunking until I win a dunk contest like he did. 

SR: Being honest, I think you would have won a dunk contest with that one.

LN: Tell my Dad that.

SR: Last question, who you got in the NBA Finals?

LN: Go Spurs.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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