Men’s Basketball: Nash makes most of his time on court

Philip Rossman-Reich

Sophomore guard Jeremy Nash has faced his fair share of injuries in his two years at Northwestern. His hands and wrists are taped, and before practice he has to throw a basketball against a wall or with a coach to loosen the shoulder he injured while playing football in high school.

It didn’t help that he missed the first eight games of this season with a back injury he suffered during the first week of practice.

Despite these ailments, Nash has been one of the first players off the bench and has tried to make the hustle plays a team needs.

“It was really tough (sitting out the first eight games),” Nash said. “I can’t let it get me down. I just try to bring the energy, motivation and defense. Whatever I can bring to the team, I try to give it to us.”

NU (6-11) will need Nash’s production off the bench to rebound from Sunday’s difficult loss to Illinois when Texas-Pan American (14-10) comes to Welsh-Ryan Arena tonight.

It has been difficult for Nash to work his way completely back into the rotation. He returned from injury Dec. 20, playing four minutes in a 77-51 win against Howard.

Coach Bill Carmody said the sophomore guard is taking advantage of his opportunities and putting in the work that will make him and the team better.

“Last year I don’t think that he put the time and the effort in that was necessary,” Carmody said. “I think now he realizes that if he plays well, he’ll play more. That’s true with just about everybody. The better he plays, the more he plays.”

Nash played in 26 of NU’s 31 games last season, averaging 2.4 points per game.

He recorded career highs with 10 points and three steals against Penn State last season.

This year Nash has played in seven games since returning, averaging 2.4 points and about one steal in 8.6 minutes per game.

But his contributions go beyond the box score.

“You need to make sure you are focusing on the positive things,” sophomore forward Kevin Coble said. “He goes out there and he’s doing a great job knowing his role. He’s shutting people down. He’s getting his hands on the ball. Little things like that can really contribute more ways than scoring points.”

Coble was not the only person on the team to notice Nash’s ability to get his hands on the ball on defense. Carmody said the sophomore is good at running down balls along the baseline and providing energy at the top of the team’s 1-3-1 zone defense.

The little things he does off the bench – like deflecting passes and fighting for loose balls – help energize the team.

“If it’s a loose ball, a rebound, a big shot, a big stop, we just feel like if (the bench) can get that, we can help the team,” Nash said. “If they see we’re going to do it, then they’ll pick up and they’re going to do it. I’m just happy to help the team any way I can. If it is coming off the bench, if I’m starting, if I don’t play, as long as we get the win that’s all that matters.”

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