STILLWATER – Le’Bryan Nash didn’t hold a press conference or gather students in the Student Union, trying to replicate the scene from a year ago when he, Marcus Smart and Markel Brown announced their intentions to return for another season at Oklahoma State.
Still, Nash didn’t miss the opportunity to go public with his announcement before a captive OSU audience Saturday night. He took the microphone at the POSSE Auction and confirmed popular opinion of the past month – opinion prompted by Nash – he’ll be back as a Cowboy one more year.
At a time when OSU’s roster remains in flux, Nash gives the Cowboys a veteran presence and a proven scorer who averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds this past season, while shooting a team-best 52 percent from the floor.
Soon after his live announcement, Nash took to Twitter to take his message to the masses.
“I have another year to try to bring Stillwater a title. I want to be a winner. #dedication #senioryear #onemoreyear.”
As the regular season wound down, Nash strongly hinted at a return.
“Being a senior, that’d be exciting for me,” he said. “I do think about senior year, I don’t know if that says anything about what I’m favoring, but I really do think about it a lot.”
Now Travis Ford and his staff and OSU’s fans can think about next season a little more comfortably.
Smart and Brown, the team’s leading scorers, are gone. So is Brian Williams, who is transferring. But Nash gives the Cowboys a focal point, along with Phil Forte, Kamari Murphy and Michael Cobbins – all of whom have started.
Ford says he’s optimistic about the impact sophomore Leyton Hammonds and redshirted freshman Jeffrey Carroll can provide. And the recruiting class adds more pieces, including size that will allow Nash to slide back into a small forward role that better fits his strengths.
Once considered a possible one-and-done player after a standout high school career in Dallas, Nash struggled with inconsistency as a freshman, but steadily progressed as a sophomore and junior.
“I think he’s grown up a lot,” Ford said in March. “I just think coming out of high school, there was so much pressure and so many things to live up to. That was something he had to grow into. And maturing has helped him grow into that.
“I think all the rough times, just like it does all of us, have made him tougher. And has made him better. And he’s learned from it. So I’m proud of him.”