It's not easy being LeBryan Nash.
If he has a game where he scores 25 points and grabs 15 rebounds, he's expected to do so. If he has a game where his numbers aren't as great or he appears to take a play or two off, he hears it from his critics. Even victories aren't enough at times.
It's a hard life, but it's his life, and Nash has grown accustomed to what the life deals him. For the last three years, he's been dubbed the starchild of the Class of 2011 for the state of Texas. Now a senior -- and the fourth-ranked player in his class according to Rivals.com -- Nash is making it a priority to put exclamation points on every basketball court he plays on, from the east coast to the west.
And he's making sure he's representing his city while doing it.
"It's all about putting Dallas on the map. That's what I'm trying to do," Nash said. "People think Texas is a football state. In Dallas, we're not a football city, we're a basketball city. I make sure I tell people where I come from. I want to show them that you can make it from anywhere you come from."
Nash represents Dallas' Lincoln High School, which has produced NBA product and McDonald's All-American Chris Bosh as well as another McDonald's All-American, former Oklahoma State guard - and half-brother - Byron Eaton. Nash wants to be the next big thing to come out of Lincoln, and, barring injuries or anything else negative, he has a chance to see Bosh in the league in a few years.
At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, Nash is one of the nation's strongest and most gifted athletes. He is being courted by multiple high-major universities and had a productive visit to Baylor over the weekend. He has visited Oklahoma State and has an upcoming visit to Kansas scheduled next month.
"It's pressure," Nash said of the recruiting process, "but I take it one day at a time. I'm not trying to rush in to things. I just want to keep it simple. Everybody knows how I play, so I don't have to impress anybody. I just have to play to my potential."
Nash has Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas among his final list of schools, but he recently added a fourth school to the race. Arizona has peaked Nash's interest and could be a major player as his decision day approaches. Nash said he will announce his commitment via ESPN on Oct. 21 in downtown Dallas.
"I've always liked Arizona," Nash said. "A lot of the players there come out the school as first- or second-rounders who make it to the league. They've built a tradition there."
The school that gets Nash will get a bruiser inside the paint who likes to posterize defenders with monster dunks. Nash is a bull on the boards who averaged 17.8 points and 10.2 rebounds as a junior. Nash, additionally, has developed his perimeter game to where he can consistently hit the 18-footer. Nash also can run the break during transition opportunities.
Nash played summer ball for a Dallas Mustangs organization that has won several national tournaments since his freshman year. The Mustangs won the Real Deal in the Rock (Little Rock, Ark.,) the adidas Invitational (Indianapolis) and the Great American Shoot-Out (Duncanville, Texas), all tournaments with nationally ranked players competing. Nash teamed with other stars such as highly recruited Devonta Abron and Keaton Miles and Division I commitments in Jordan Williams (North Texas), Geoff Groselle (Creighton) and Jherrod Stiggers and Jevante Thompson (Houston).
Selecting a school has been difficult for Nash, but he did mention that he relies on his brother's advice of weighing all options equally. Eaton went through a similarly grueling process as a two-sport star at Lincoln. Eaton, when he wasn't a playmaking floor general on the basketball court, was a hard-hitting defensive back on the football field.
"He's busy overseas, but we do talk a lot," Nash said. "He tells me to take my time. When I choose, I'm going to be with a coach that I've got to trust for four years or however many years it takes. I've just got to be patient and put the game in the hands."
Not to mention, Nash's still got to play for his city, something he said will never change.