Ford said: “We're trying to get him in better spots to score. We're going to try to get him in some situations where he can get guys one-on-one.”
If I was Ford, I'd grab Nash by the shoulders and tell him if he found himself in a one-on-one matchup, he'd better put the ball on the floor and go to the hole.
When Nash does that, something good is almost always bound to happen. Maybe he'll have a shot that's closer to the basket and easier to make. Or maybe he'll get all the way to the hole and score. Or maybe he'll draw a foul.
All are good options, since he's got a good jump shot, can finish around the rim and is even a darn good free throw shooter.
“We like it when he puts the ball on the floor,” Ford said.
He tells Nash as much.
“But Coach,” Nash will answer, “I can shoot the three.”
True, but he can dominate if he goes to the hole.
Take a sequence late in the first half Monday night. Nash caught the ball in the corner with only one Sooner between him and the basket. The defender was well off him, but instead of taking it at him, Nash pulled up for a three.
It clanged off the rim.
Even with those type of moments, this Bedlam game was another big step for Nash. In OSU's conference opener against Texas Tech, he went for 21 points, and the other night at Texas, he had 12 points.
He seems to be hitting a stride.
He even showed some of the flair that helped him win the McDonald's dunk contest with last spring. In the second half, he drove the lane and tried to throw down a big slam.
A Sooner foul sent him instead to the line, where he made both free throws.
“I don't know what he was trying to do,” Ford said, chuckling. “He looked at me like, ‘That's what you've been telling me to do.'”
He showed that athleticism.
If the Cowboys want to have a chance at navigating this conference, they need to keep encouraging that kind of play from Nash. Grab him by the shoulders. Subject him to ribbing by 5-foot-9 guys. Do whatever it takes.