COLUMBUS — Before he heads to Lincoln to take on the Big Ten Conference, Deverell Biggs made a pit stop in Columbus.
Biggs, a University of Nebraska signee and three-time Class A state champion at Omaha Central, has been taking summer courses for the past three weeks at Central Community College in an attempt to qualify academically so he can enroll in classes in August.
The 6-foot, 195-pound point guard looks to join the Huskers after leading Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan., to a 31-7 record and a conference championship last season. As the Jayhawk Conference West Division player of the year, Biggs led his team in scoring with 14.8 points per game, 3.1 assists and 3.3 steals.
Biggs was named a first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American last season and has three years to play two at Nebraska. As new Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles’ first recruit, Biggs will look to help elevate the status of the Husker basketball program from bottom-feeder to contender.
“For me to actually be a part of my home school and start up something that’s never been done is cool,” Biggs said. “It’s an honor, and I’m ready to make some noise at the Devaney Center.”
When Biggs wasn’t having much luck looking for a college to take summer classes, the only person that reached out to him was CCC men’s basketball coach Marty Levinson.
Biggs and Levinson already knew each other through summer leagues and games of pickup ball, so it was a perfect match.
“I knew Marty from when he beat me up on the court,” Biggs said. “He really guarded me and didn’t really let me catch the ball.”
While in Columbus, Biggs has been working out with Levinson and his Raiders. Levinson has specifically focused on improving Biggs’ shooting.
“He’s been helping me with my shooting, my form and the mental part of the game,” Biggs said. “We just went back to the basics. There isn’t anything wrong with going back to the basics. That really helped me and got me focused.”
And those summer lessons are starting to pay off as Biggs is getting more and more comfortable with his stroke.
“He’s a good coach, a real mellow coach,” Biggs said. “He knows what he’s doing, and he knows what he’s talking about because it’s obviously been working for me these past three weeks.”
Being an Omaha native, Biggs enjoys the small-town atmosphere that CCC and the city of Columbus have to offer.
“It’s quiet. I like it because the teachers care about you. They want to see you succeed. I talk to my teachers every day after class,” Biggs said. “It’s a positive campus, and I’m glad I came here. It’s a new experience.”
Since arriving, Biggs also has been active in the community. He helped as an instructor last week at the Central Community College Speed Central Clinic at Lakeview High School along with his former head coach Eric Behrens and former teammate Akoy Agau, both from Omaha Central.
“Teaching young kids how to play basketball and teaching them the basics is fun,” Biggs said. “I felt honored to be a part of that, especially with Coach Behrens, my high school coach. It was fun, and I hope I can do it again next year.”
Having finished up his classes Friday, Biggs is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life as a Husker basketball player. While being recruited by Nebraska, it didn’t take long for Biggs to be sold on the future of the program. He knew where he wanted to play college ball after his first meeting with coach Miles.
“Coach Miles couldn’t have said it better. I went to my visit, and I loved every part of it,” Biggs said. “He was blunt with me. He said he needs me, and that’s what I needed to hear. After that, I told him, ‘Give me the paper. I’ll sign right here.’”
Although it may be a couple years away, Biggs is confident Miles is going to turn the Husker basketball program around.
“Coach Miles knows what he’s doing, so I feel we’re going to be a part of the elite teams at Nebraska like the volleyball and football teams,” Biggs said. “He’s got a staff that can recruit. He knows what he’s doing, and his plan is to set a high standard.”
Since he has three years to play two at Nebraska, Biggs has made the decision to redshirt his first season. He wants to get into the weight room so he’ll be ready to take on the punishment of playing in the Big Ten.
With a brand new weight room and facilities, Biggs can’t wait to get into the Devaney Center and get to work.
“The whole facility is great. They really went all out on that, and I wish everyone could see it because they would see that it’s like NBA-status,” Biggs said. “It’s cool, and I can’t wait to get there. I might just live in the gym because I want to get better.”
With his good friend Agau set to finish his high school career in 2013, Biggs has been doing everything he can to get Agau to come play at Nebraska with him.
Agau boasts an impressive offer list that includes Connecticut, Florida and Georgetown. The 6-8, 220-pound power forward has many schools to choose from, but having a good friend already on the team can only help the Huskers in their push to sign the state’s best player.
“I’ve been in his ear every time we talk because I know he’s got all the schools looking at him. He’s a good kid and a great basketball player,” Biggs said. “I tell him Nebraska’s making moves, and it’s an upcoming program. We’re going to be really good in a couple years.”
And if Agau doesn’t pick the home-state Huskers, Biggs won’t hold anything against him.
“Hopefully, he chooses Nebraska, but if not, I wish him the best of luck wherever he goes,” Biggs said.