Ohio State men's basketball: Northwestern game will feature sons of NBA greats

Adam Jardy
Northwestern coach Chris Collins is the son of a four-time NBA all-star and longtime league coach in Doug Collins. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

It makes a lot of sense that Pete Nance would feel a strong kinship with Chris Collins.

Nance, the son of three-time NBA all-star Larry and brother of current Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Jr., ultimately picked Northwestern as a four-star recruit from Richfield (Ohio) Revere. Ohio State, among others, had recruited him in the class of 2018, but he will visit Value City Arena on Wednesday night as a visitor approaching the tail end of his freshman season.

Collins, meanwhile, is the son of a four-time NBA all-star and longtime league coach in Doug Collins. The parallels are significant, and before the start of the season Collins said he felt they helped him land the No. 3 recruit in Ohio for his class.

“I think he and I really bonded in recruiting over the fact that we both grew up the same way,” Collins told The Dispatch at Big Ten media day in Chicago. “We both lived the same childhood. His dad was a pro. His brother’s a pro. He’s grown up in the gym. He’s had two (shadows), but also wanting his own identity just like I did. I think we really hit it off on that.

“I feel I can really help him with that, because obviously the better he gets and the more attention, he’s constantly going to be compared to his brother and his father. I want him to just be Pete Nance and have his own identity.”

Tuesday, Larry Nance Jr. posted to Twitter that he’s looking to attend the game at Ohio State.

Need a suite for Northwestern Vs. Ohio state tomorrow in Columbus.. who do I talk to?

— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) February 19, 2019

Pete Nance is not the only Ohioan on the Northwestern roster. Senior center Dererk Pardon, a Cleveland product who attend Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, is averaging 13.6 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds for the Wildcats.

A three-star prospect in the class of 2015, Ohio State never offered him.

“I wasn’t heavily recruited my freshman and sophomore year,” he told The Dispatch at media day. “It started to pick up a little bit my junior year from a lot of mid-major colleges like Akron, Kent, those areas in Ohio. Staying in state never wasn’t in my mind, but I knew I had the possibility to leave the state.”

Nance, meanwhile, has been sidelined with an illness recently. In 18 games this season, he has averaged 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in 12.6 minutes. Pardon said in October that he’d already started picking the brains of Nance’s brother and father to find ways to improve his own game.

The same goes for Collins, who was a ballboy for his dad with the Chicago Bulls when Nance Sr. was playing for the Cavaliers. In particular, they’ve discussed Michael Jordan’s famous shot over Craig Ehlo – a play on which Nance was supposed to double-team Jordan but allowed him to shake free.

As a ballboy for his father, Collins had a front-row seat for the famous shot.

"You always remember the losses, so when you talk to him, of all the games he won he wants to talk about that one and wants to have that play over again,” Collins said. “I remember being a ballboy when my dad was coaching the Bulls and seeing Larry Sr. play. Now to coach his kid, it’s pretty wild how it comes full circle.”


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