By R.L. Bynum
The commitment comes two months later than North Carolina got a key transfer in the last offseason. But the Tar Heels hope that Pete Nance can have the same sort of impact Brady Manek did when he transferred from Oklahoma.
Nance’s 3-point shooting percentage last season was better than Manek’s.
Nance, the son of former Clemson and NBA star Larry Nance Sr. who played four seasons at Northwestern, will transfer to transfer to UNC after visiting Chapel Hill earlier this week. He announced the news on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
A roster spot opened when Kerwin Walton, who committed to Texas Tech last week, decided to transfer.
“I’m extremely excited to join the team at UNC, compete on the biggest stage and compete for a national championship,” Nance said. “The opportunity to join such an accomplished program with the North Carolina family backing is one I couldn’t pass up. I want to thank Northwestern for the past four years and for such an awesome experience. I made so many memories and relationships that will last a lifetime.”
Like Manek, the 6-foot-10 power forward from Akron, Ohio, will be a graduate transfer playing in his fifth college season. Nance went through the NBA pre-draft process before pulling his name. At the NBA G League Elite Cap last month in Chicago, he competed with other players hoping to be drafted, including Manek.
“To complete our roster, we needed a big-time experienced player who could contribute right away,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “We found that player in Pete Nance. His character and proven ability, experience and leadership are the perfect fit to our team, program and community. I’m so thankful I will have the opportunity to coach Pete this upcoming season.”
Manek, who committed to Carolina in mid-April 2021, shot 40.3% from 3-point range for the Tar Heels but Nance shot 46.2% last season for the Wildcats. Manek scored 93 3-pointers compared to 42 for Nance. But Nance figures to put up more perimeter shots in Coach Hubert Davis’ system just like Manek, who scored only 48 3-pointers in his senior season at Oklahoma.
Nance, who is 225 pounds and has a seven-foot wingspan, led Northwestern in scoring (14.6 points per game; 15th in the Big Ten), rebounding (6.5 per game) and blocks (1.1 per game; eighth in the Big Ten) and was second in assists (2.7 per game) last season. With 1,025 career points, he became the 38th player in Wildcats program history to eclipse 1,000 points.
The addition of Nance could mean that Puff Johnson, who had some impressive minutes in the NCAA championship game, could be a sixth man for the Tar Heels.
Ryan Young, who was Nance’s teammate at Northwestern last season, is transferring to Duke. He’s a 6-10, 240-pound post player who averaged nine points and 4.2 rebounds last season as a junior.
A four-star recruit out of Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio, he had ranks of No. 67 in the country by Rivals, No. 79 by ESPN and No. 85 by 247Sports. Nance picked Northwestern over Ohio State and Michigan.
Nance’s brother Larry Nance Jr., the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and just finished his seventh NBA season after a college career at Wyoming. His father played 13 NBA seasons, including stints with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nance has eight career double-doubles, with career-highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds on Jan. 12 in a 94–87 overtime home loss to Maryland. He has at least three 3-pointers in 10 games, topped by four in a 20-point game on Feb. 22 in a 77–65 victory at Nebraska.
Nance has blocked at least three shots seven times, including a career-high five on March 1, 2020, against Nebraska and four last season in a 77–73 loss at Wake Forest.
After Nance started only one of 23 games as a freshman and averaged 13.9 minutes and 2.9 points per game, he’s averaged around 26 minutes per game the last three seasons. He averaged 8.5 points as a sophomore, 11.1 points as a junior and 14.6 points as a senior.
He started all 30 games last season as the Wildcats finished 15–16 under Coach Chris Collins, a former Duke player. Northwestern hasn’t had a winning season since going 24–12 in the 2016–17 season, when it earned the program’s only NCAA tournament berth.
Season-highs last season
|5th year||Leaky Black||3||6–8||200|
|5th year||Pete Nance||5||6–10||225|