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March 26, 2010An interested observer says that Baylor is going to make it to the Final Four.
That it is Dallas Lincoln forward LeBryan Nash, one of Baylor's top targets for its 2011 recruiting class, is noteworthy.
Nash, the fifth-ranked prospect on the Rivals150 national list, said Thursday he is paying close attention to the Bears' run to the Sweet 16.
"They can go far," Nash said. "They can go real far to the Final Four. They have a real good shot.
"I think they can beat Duke."
Baylor has to beat St. Mary's on Friday night in Houston, and Duke has to get by Purdue for that dream matchup of Bears-Blue Devils to happen.
Scott Drew's Baylor program is already held in high regard by the 6-7 junior Nash, who was named Thursday to The Dallas Morning News' All-Area team.
"Baylor, they're in my Top 5," Nash said.
Only one of other team in Nash's Top 5, Kentucky, remains alive in the NCAA tourney. Nash's other top choices are Syracuse, Oklahoma State and Kansas.
Nash said Baylor's rise as a program and this season's success is making a difference.
"It's had a huge impact," Nash said. "It will be so fun to see how far we can go if I go there. And Coach Drew is showing that he can really coach and I know he can coach me."
The fact the Baylor program is bringing in McDonald's All-American Perry Jones of Duncanville next season doesn't hurt Nash's outlook on the future.
"We always wanted to play together," Nash said. "If he stays for more than one year, that might influence my decision."
Nash, who is projected to play shooting guard or small forward in college - he's played the 3, 4 or 5 for Lincoln - said he improved a lot during a junior season that saw him average 17.8 points per game.
"I improved a lot as a passer," Nash said.
Lincoln coach Leonard Bishop says Nash belongs in a group of the best players he's coached, which includes Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh and former SMU guard Bryan Hopkins.
"One of the things LB improved on this year was his mental state," Bishop said. "He's always had an understanding of the game, but now he's able to do even more things. He's able to do a lot."