Something from Le'Bryan Nash We Hadn't Seen
When Le'Bryan Nash came to Oklahoma State out of Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas, you remember with the big orange foam Cowboy hat as he made his television commitment, there was was so much promise. Nash was certain he was going to be an All-American just like he was a McDonald's All-American in high school for the Tigers at Lincoln and Texas' Mr. Basketball. Nash was three-time All-Big 12, but there was always somebody else that stood out. Finally, Nash was the standout in orange and black as he was clearly the best player for the Stillwater Stars in their one and done debut in The Basketball Tournament. Stillwater lost to Team Brotherly Love, a group of former Philadelphia-area former collegians and/or current professionals outside the NBA, 87-71.
We saw Nash do something early in the $1-million "winner take all" tournament. Le'Bryan Nash cracked a smile, actually smiled big three times as he finished the first quarter with a game high 11 points on five-for-five shooting.
Smile number one came when Nash hit a jumper for a 4-2 lead, his second basket. Smile number two was even wider as Nash hit a three-pointer and Stillwater had a 7-2 lead.
Then with 5:45 left in the first, the widest of the smiles as he used a fake at the elbow to lose his defender on the dribble and took the ball to the hole for a 12-4 lead at the time.
Stillwater led 26-18 at the end of the first quarter.
"When you get a chance to play the game you always love, it’s a good thing,” Nash said of basketball and playing again. “I think I smile a lot more now. I know I didn’t. Obviously, my game’s evolved.
“It’s also a part of freedom," Nash added. "It puts a smile on your face when you’re able to show off your entire game. My coaches have let me play a of lot of ways. That freedom, that makes you feel great and smile."
You could see from that point on that the Team Brotherly Love wore down the seven man roster. Head coach and former Cowboy Bryndon Manzer did his best to rotate the players and had to give Nash a rest and it was Nash that was the main scorer for Stillwater as he finished 30 points and five rebounds to go with it.
"We knew he was going to have to score for us," Manzer said of Nash. "“[Nash] was great obviously. A lot was put on his shoulders, and he delivered. We knew he was going to have to score a lot and he did, he had 30 points on just 18 shots.
"I've loved him since he was at Oklahoma State," Manzer added. "I know he is hard on himself. That is part of that look."
At the end of day, Nash, who is currently playing for Tokyo Hachioji Bee Trains, his fourth team in the professional ranks, actually topped his career high as a Cowboy of 29 points in a 2014 win over West Virginia.
Nash and Manzer both feel good about the first experience, as good as you can feel with a short roster against a pretty good team from Philly.
"I look forward being back next year with Markel (Brown) and Phil (Forte) those are guys that I played with," Nash said of some players that were supposed to be with the Stillwater Stars. "We'll be deeper and we'll come back ready to win."