KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Le'Bryan Nash arrived for his close up Thursday.
Smiling, chatting, cutting up and fitting in as a freshman, Nash officially entered the college spotlight, joining Oklahoma State veterans Keiton Page and Jéan-Paul Olukemi in representing the Cowboys at Big 12 Media Days.
Why did OSU coach Travis Ford bring Nash, who has yet to suit up for Homecoming and Hoops, let alone the Jayhawks and Longhorns?
“I had my reservations, no question,” Ford said.
But then, already, folks are enamored with Nash. Fans, media, the Big 12 coaches, too, having already tabbed Nash as the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He's on the l2-man watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, drawn up by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
So with some urging from Mike Noteware in OSU's media relations department, Ford added Nash to the travel itinerary.
“I obviously wanted to take Keiton,” Ford said, “and I wanted to take more than one, so then you go from there. Who do you pick from that point? Noteware brought up Le'Bryan first and my initial reaction was ‘No, I'm not going to take a freshman at this point.'
“But then he started talking about Texas and Baylor and different programs have done a lot of that lately.”
Just a year ago, Baylor brought prized recruit Perry Jones III and Texas arrived with Tristan Thompson.
“(Noteware) told me that, and I said ‘Why do you think they brought them?'” Ford said. “And he said ‘People wanted to hear from them.'
“That's what the day is for. If we are going to go all the way up there, I want to take different people they want to hear from. It doesn't mean we don't have many others who are deserving, but I think everybody on our team understands that Le'Bryan has a big name.”
And sure enough Thursday, the first question for Ford focused on Nash and the load heaped on him as a potential impact player.