By John Helsley
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The obvious assumption upon LeBryan Nash’s signing with Oklahoma State hinted at some influence from Nash’s half-brother, former Cowboy Byron Eaton.
And while Eaton’s OSU career offered a younger Nash reasons to attend Cowboys games — which he did, several times – don’t overplay that connection. Nash has long credited Travis Ford as the tipping point in his desire to go orange and black. And while at 39th Annual Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville over the weekend, Nash reiterated that fact, as the locals pressed him on his coach and former Kentucky star.
“Every time I walked around, somebody has got something to say about him,” Nash told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “That’s why I committed to Oklahoma State. He’s a great coach who is going to push me and hopefully get me to the next level.”
Nash admitted to not knowing so much about Travis Ford, the player.
“He was a shooter, I know he was a shooter,” Nash said. “He knew how to control the offense and can show me how to play point guard when I’m there.”
Point guard? Consider that another tip on how the Cowboys want to play next season — fast. Ford, too, has hinted at putting the ball in Nash’s hands out front; probably not full-time, with Reger Dowell returning and Cezar Guerrero coming in. But expect to see some of it.
As for the Classic, Nash produced 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. Reports suggested he was one of the most athletic players on the floor.
Nash’s athleticism couldn’t land him another dunk contest title, although he was a crowd favorite. Nash, who won the McDonald’s All-American Jam Fest dunk contest in Chicago, produced two dunks that wowed the crowd, including one in which he passed — behind his back to himself – off the backboard for a throwdown.
While the crowd approved, the judges graded Nash a bit harsher, drawing boos from those in attendance.
“I think that dunk was a better dunk than they gave me,” Nash said. “The fans know I should have won and I know I should have won, but the judges didn’t give it to me.”