Archive for Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Nash reluctant to fly, eager to play

Big 12 All-Star team’s tour of Scandinavia starts Wednesday in Sweden

August 6, 2002


Flying two hours from Dallas to Chicago, then, after a lengthy layover, boarding an 8-hour, 15-minute flight to Stockholm, Sweden, isn't Bryant Nash's idea of a good day.

"I ain't too crazy about the plane trip," groaned Nash, Kansas University's lanky 6-foot-6 junior forward, referring to Monday's marathon journey to Scandinavia, site of the Big 12 Men's Basketball All-Star team's 11-day tour.

"I hate flying. I always have," said Nash, KU's representative on the 12-man Big 12 team coached by Baylor's Dave Bliss.

Nash hates flying, but loves playing basketball. The seldom-used Jayhawk, who is hoping for increased playing time this season, saw the Big 12 excursion as an opportunity he couldn't refuse.

"When we play I'm going to go all out, be more aggressive, show coach (Bliss) what I'm trying to accomplish," said Nash.

He practiced five times in Dallas last weekend prior to Monday's trip. He hit one three-pointer in two tries and had a dunk and six points total in Sunday's first scrimmage.

Not bad for a guy who has hit just two of 10 threes in his career at KU while averaging just under a point a game in 54 games.

"I need to stop passing that up, too," Carrollton, Texas native Nash said of open shots. "I think I need to be a little more selfish."

Of the practices, Nash said: "Everything is going well. Everybody is out there hustling. I think everybody on this team just clicks. We see each other make good passes and good plays, and I think we're going to do pretty well over there in Europe."

Bliss will try to find playing time for Nash, plus Nick Anderson (Texas A&M;), Travon Bryant, (Missouri), Will Chavis (Texas Tech), Jason Klotz (Texas), Ivan McFarlin (Oklahoma State), Jake Muhleisen (Nebraska), Pervis Pasco (Kansas State), Lawrence Roberts (Baylor), Jake Sullivan (Iowa State), Quannas White (Oklahoma) and Blair Wilson (Colorado).

"Bryant Nash has great quickness," Bliss said. "The program that he plays with in Kansas has really utilized the quickness of players up and down the floor. With the 24-second clock (used on this tour) Bryant has done a great job."

The All-Stars were to practice today, then play games Wednesday and Thursday in Sweden. Games also will be played in Denmark and Norway.

"I think that we've got a good group of guys," Oklahoma guard Quannis White said.

"Practice has been tough. It's kind of reminding me of Oklahoma practice a little bit. These two-a-days are going to help us in January. It keeps us in a little bit of shape until school starts."

The camaraderie is good.

"All the guys seem to be loosening up a little bit," MU junior Travon Bryant said. "When we first met each other we were all kind of tight. Ever since we got on the basketball court it seems like everybody has opened up and is real vocal. That's the big thing right now, being confident with each other so that we can accomplish our goals. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm thankful the Big 12 chose me."

KU sophomore guard Keith Langford hit five of nine shots and scored 13 points with six assists in the NIT All-Stars' 109-86 victory over GT Express last week in Canada. He also had nine points on 3-of-7 shooting with five rebounds and three assists in the ALl-Stars' 112-87 victory over Ontario. Langford missed his only two three-point tries in those two games.

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