Oklahoma State basketball: Le'Bryan Nash 'trying to lead the NCAA in free-throw attempts'

Guard's attempts to get to the rim have made him a more consistent player this season.
by John Helsley Published: November 30, 2012

photo - Oklahoma State guard Le'Bryan Nash (2) shoots as Portland State forward Aaron Moore (21) and center Lamont Prosser (42) half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. Oklahoma State won 81-58. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO110
Oklahoma State guard Le'Bryan Nash (2) shoots as Portland State forward Aaron Moore (21) and center Lamont Prosser (42) half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. Oklahoma State won 81-58. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO110

Travis Ford hasn't shown video clips of last year's Virginia Tech game to Le'Bryan Nash.

And maybe he shouldn't, at the risk of messing with Nash's current mojo.

That Nash — the one who went scoreless and looked lost and apathetic in one of the team's two losses to the Hokies a year ago — has been replaced by the new and so-far improved Nash.

This Nash, in his second season, shows signs of a new maturity and production level, a major component in Oklahoma State's rise to No. 15 in the rankings.

“Last year,” Nash said, “I'd play three good games, then the next thing you know, I'd have a five-point game. I'm just trying to stay consistent.”

Through five games, all Cowboys wins, Nash has epitomized consistency.

And Nash's focus on being reliable isn't just for his own benefit, it's for the benefit of the Cowboys. When he's on, OSU is good — Big 12 contender good.

Entering Saturday's trip to Virginia Tech — the Cowboys' first true road game — Nash has scored at least 16 points each time out, contributing to his team-leading 19.2 scoring average. Those points are coming differently, too, with Nash now willing to work inside when necessary, an approach he resisted as a freshman, when he preferred to drift around the perimeter and fire up jump shots and 3-pointers.

The evidence is in his frequent trips to the foul line, where he's already attempted 48 free throws, making 41 for a percentage of 85.4, contributing heavily to his strong start.

“I'm trying to lead the NCAA in free-throw attempts,” said Nash, who is also averaging 6.4 rebounds a game. “I'm just taking what the defense gives me. And I'm playing with my teammates. My teammates give me the ball in good situations, and when you have a scoring mentality, then defenses can't stop you. All they can do is foul you.”

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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Oklahoma State at Virginia Tech

* When: 1 p.m. Saturday

* Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va.

* Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1

* TV: None

Three things to know

* The Hokies, 6-0 for the first time since 1982, are averaging 87 points per game. OSU has not allowed as many as 65 points in any game.

* Cowboys center Philip Jurick, who needed 12 stitches to close his lower lip after taking an elbow in practice Wednesday, is questionable.

* Starting forward Michael Cobbins, who hasn't played since the opener due to a fractured toe, is expected to return.

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