Oklahoma State basketball: Le'Bryan Nash becomes a rebounding force

Once hailed for his scoring ability, the Cowboy has become team's leading rebounder.
by John Helsley Published: December 20, 2013
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photo - OSU men's basketball player Le'Bryan Nash (2) during media day for Oklahoma State University basketball at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
OSU men's basketball player Le'Bryan Nash (2) during media day for Oklahoma State University basketball at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Expectations have changed for Le'Bryan Nash.

Expectations of others, as well as Nash's own expectations.

And it's a change for the better.

When he arrived at Oklahoma State two years ago, Nash was viewed as a program savior, an elite recruit ready to return the Cowboys to prominence, both in the Big 12 and nationally. It was too much, too soon — if ever, realistically.

Yet with that burden lifted and with the arrival of Marcus Smart and Markel Brown's rising star status, Nash has settled into a more reasonable role, albeit a valuable role: Rebounder.

“That's the biggest thing in my mind every time I step on the court, is to help this team rebound,” Nash said. “Be the best rebounder on this team. Ain't nothing wrong with being the best rebounding guy.

“That's what I'm trying to be on this team.”

Nash's contributions go further than just board work, as he's averaging 13.8 points a game as a 54.6-percent shooter. But he's also OSU's leading rebounder, averaging 6.2 per game as the No. 7-ranked Cowboys enter Saturday night's clash with No. 20 Colorado at the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas. Tip time is 10:30 p.m.

Nash once declared himself a scorer, after averaging 22 points at Lincoln High in Dallas, where he was a McDonald's All-American and the No. 2-rated small forward in the country and was coveted by many of the top programs in college basketball.

His adjustment to the college game, however, was marked by highs and lows as he struggled to live up to the heavy buildup heaped on his shoulders. Help arrived a year ago when Smart stepped into the star role and Brown raised the level of his game. And the roster overall is improved, allowing Nash to find a seemingly more comfortable place on the periphery of the spotlight.

“We've just got a lot more help around him,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “He's not getting double- and triple-teamed as much. There's just so much more help around him. And he's a skilled player. He understands the offensive game. He takes better shots than he used to. He understands it a little bit more.


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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