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St. Thomas

Beyond Bounds: Best Friends Tommy Hannon & John Nance Go 1-On-1

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Tommy Hannon (left) and John Nance lead the No. 1-ranked Tommies and the two St. Paul natives have been inseparable since fifth-grade little league baseball. (credit: Mike Ekern/University of St. Thomas)

Tommy Hannon (left) and John Nance lead the No. 1-ranked Tommies — and the two St. Paul natives have been inseparable since playing little league baseball together.
(credit: Mike Ekern/University of St. Thomas)

The best friend dynamic between St. Thomas’ John Nance and Tommy Hannon is so genuine, so goofy, and so … simply entertaining that I found myself momentarily forgetting to interview two of the cornerstones for the best Division III team in the nation.

Take 2:43 out of your day, and watch the video below (a CTN Sports creation) as it does a sound job detailing the Hannon/Nance life story in the players’ own words.

Before we get to the fun of pitting the best friends/house mates against one another to see who’s smarter, who’s got the best style, and who gets the most dates, here’s what you need to know.

Nance was on a full ride at the U to play QB, but was well-aware of MarQueis Gray’s heralded arrival. He also realized his body was better suited for basketball, and came to UST.
He’s a fifth-year senior as a result, a 6-foot-3-inch captain who slices through defenses and averages 10 ppg for the insanely balanced Tommie attack.

Hannon’s lucky to be enjoying playing for this 2012-13 squad that’s 21-1 overall and 16-1 MIAC, as he just squeaked by on getting a medical red-shirt last year when his left knee became too battered to play on. If he had played the 10th game of the season, he wouldn’t have qualified to return to the Tommies.
The 6-foot-7-inch, fifth-year captain averages 11 ppg.

“I still think (coach John) Tauer only recruited me because he wanted John,” Hannon said. “I was a late bloomer. John was All-State in two sports, and has been the star since fifth grade.”

John Nance, a fifth-year senior, is pleased he left his scholarship to play QB at the U of M to come and lead the point for the Tommies. (credit: Thomas Whisenand/University of St. Thomas)

John Nance, a fifth-year senior, is pleased he left his scholarship to play QB at the
U of M to come and lead the point for the Tommies.
(credit: Thomas Whisenand/University of St. Thomas)

The duo has the Tommies and their 12-player deep rotation hammering MIAC opponents, and appear to be en route to duplicating St. Thomas’ success two years ago when it won the Division III national title.
(The Nance/Hannon tandem was St. Thomas’ leading scorers that night – 16 apiece).

So, seeing the Cretin-Derham Hall alums have been side-by-side since little league baseball, they must know where each other stand in the friendship hierarchy.

So let’s get a bit real.

——-

Who’s the smartest in the classroom?
John (pointing toward Tommy): “Tommy, easily.”
Tommy: “I’ll take that one. I’ve always had a passion for numbers and finance.”

Who’s the smartest on the court?
Tommy: “I’d say John, because he’s a guard and he has a lot more responsibility. He probably takes a lot less dumb chances than I do.”
John: “When I’m playing against Tommy, I know he likes to hit the first cutter, I’ll jump it and say ‘I knew it.'”

Who wins one-on-one without a dribble limit?
John: “It doesn’t matter how many dribbles. I win”
Tommy: “Me.”
John: “I disagree.”
Who wins one-on-one with a dribble limit?
John: “I still win.”
Tommy: “I still win.”

Who hustles more?
Tommy: “John’s more gifted athletically, so I have to hustle more to make up for it.”

Tommy Hannon's injury in the ninth game of last year's season just barely gave him the chance to take a medical redshirt and enjoy his fifth year this winter. (credit: Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

Tommy Hannon is the Tommies’ post presence, averaging 11 ppg for an incredibly balanced team. (credit: Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

Who’s nicer?
John: “Tommy, because I’m more quiet and don’t talk that much. I have to be comfortable to open up to you.”

Since you’re both single, who gets the most dates?
(Laughs postpone progress for at least 30 seconds)
Tommy: “This works out fine because we like different types of girls – we don’t compete with each other. His perfect girl is 180 degrees from mine.”
John: “I would say I manage it a lot better, and I’m smarter.”
Tommy: “I’d give him that (amid laughs).”

Who plays tougher defense?
Tommy: “John. We take the other team’s best player and put John on him — like the guy from Bethel (Taylor Hall) who leads the conference in scoring. We said, ‘John go guard him,’ and at half he had zero points.”

Who wins in a game of Horse?
Tommy: “John’s a better shooter now.”
John: “Tommy used to shoot and be a perimeter player.”
Tommy: “Until (St. Thomas’ previous coach Steve) Fritz threw me into the post, I would stand in the corner and shoot 3s.”

Who’s the best dancer?
John: “I’m not a good dancer.”
Tommy: “I’m not a good dancer either.”

Who’s a better dresser/has more style?
John: “I don’t really dress up. I only dress up on the weekends.”
Tommy: “I work at UBS – financial advising stuff. I wear a tie and dress shirt. I win by default.”

Who has a better sense of humor?
John: “We’re probably the same … we’re around each other all the time.”

Who’s the better vocal leader?
John: “Tommy.”
Tommy: “John leads more by example.”
John: “I’m the calm.”
Tommy: “I’m the good cop and the bad cop.”

Footnote: Hannon’s a class act who wanted to make sure that not only did coach John Tauer get credit for the 2012-13 team’s success, but the assistant coaches, too.
“Our assistant coaches are amazing – Michael Keating, Jim Hayes, Jon Hughes. They do a lot of prep work before we play. They have all the clips for us in prep, and that helps us a ton.
And coach Don Johnson does a lot of our career stuff, helping us get internships and jobs.”

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