Bedlam basketball: The little big men of Bedlam

Oklahoma State's Kamari Murphy and Le'Bryan Nash and Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler and Cameron Clark now answer to once inconceivable labels: Big men. Albeit, little big men.
by Ryan Aber and John Helsley Published: January 26, 2014

In an effort to better define their teams' seasons, key players on both sides of the Bedlam rivalry have redefined themselves.

Oklahoma State's Kamari Murphy and Le'Bryan Nash and Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler and Cameron Clark now answer to once inconceivable labels:

Big men.

Albeit, little big men.

When they clash Monday night for a Big Monday Bedlam at Lloyd Noble Center (8 p.m. ESPN), the Sooners and Cowboys will match up reasonably well, similar in size and strengths.

“I think it'll be a good matchup,” said Clark. “It's just going to come down to who's tougher and who's played harder.”

Not who's bigger.

And that could come as a relief for these two undersized teams who too frequently are forced to play and act big, even though they're not big by traditional standards.

Not that Round 1 of Bedlam won't revolve around any of the four little big men. Any and all are capable of playing difference-maker.

OU plays small by default, with a lack of ready big men on its roster. OSU has been impacted by the loss of starting post man Michael Cobbins, although even before his season-ending injury, the Cowboys were never considered big inside. Cobbins and Murphy are both 6-foot-8 forwards. And athletic forwards, not bangers.

Not only is OSU without Cobbins, Murphy's bench role hasn't been replaced and Nash, who once resisted playing inside, has seen his role recast. The Cowboys are even asking 6-4 guard Marcus Smart to power up.

“It is what it is,” said Nash, who at 6-7 and 235 can play physical. “I'm trying to help this team win. It's my junior year. It's more about team and trying to win.

“If I have to play the big man, that's what I have to do. When Cobbo went down, I knew I had to play that role more. I'm just adjusting to it and playing my game.”

Nash, always a bit of a wild card, has become a major cog for the Cowboys and is coming off a career-high, 29-point effort in Saturday's win over West Virginia.

The 6-foot-7 Clark leads the Sooners in scoring and is providing help on the boards, averaging 5.8 rebounds a game.

In a breakout season, Clark has thrived inside and out on the offensive end. And he hasn't backed down to good competition, going for 32 points against Michigan State and Kansas.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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