LINCOLN — The availability of a second Nebraska men's basketball scholarship for next season following Tuesday's dismissal of guard Deverell Biggs doesn't immediately alter Tim Miles' recruiting focus.
“We still need another big man,” the coach said Tuesday. “That hasn't changed.”
In November, the Huskers signed 6-foot-10, 230-pound Jacob Hammond from Comanche, Okla. Hammond, who decommitted from Oklahoma, also considered TCU and Texas Tech.
Another scholarship has been offered to 6-1, 175-pound point guard Trey Dickerson of Williston State (N.D.) College.
Dickerson, who has three years of eligibility, missed Monday's game with an ankle injury, but said he should be 100 percent by this weekend. He had mostly mid-major offers until recently. Now, besides NU, schools such as Iowa, Arkansas, UNLV, Oklahoma State and North Carolina State are watching.
Nebraska already was recruiting ahead on guards because Biggs was a junior and Ray Gallegos is a senior.
“Now,” Miles said, “we'll look even harder and longer.”
Barring transfers or attrition, Nebraska's 2014-15 roster currently sets up this way with two scholarships to give:
Ľ Seniors: forward Leslee Smith, forward David Rivers.
Ľ Juniors: guard Terran Petteway, forward Shavon Shields, forward Walter Pitchford, guard Benny Parker, center Sergej Vucetic.
Ľ Sophomores: guard Tai Webster, guard Nathan Hawkins.
Ľ Freshmen: wing Nick Fuller, center-forward Jacob Hammond.
Biggs was erased from the roster Tuesday because of repeated disciplinary issues over two years. Miles said there was no single incident that led to the dismissal of the former All-Nebraska pick out of Omaha Central.
“We have consistently emphasized accountability for our student-athletes on the court, off the court and in the classroom,” Miles said. “Individual accountability affects the entire group.”
Miles said the decision — “difficult as it was” — was his. He dismissed speculation that the athletic department forced his hand by saying “that couldn't be further from the truth.”
A.D. Shawn Eichorst and Associate A.D. Marc Boehm were consulted, Miles said, in regard to making sure Biggs still receives his scholarship through the semester and access to the normal academic help for athletes.
On Tuesday, Biggs politely declined to discuss his departure, other than to say he definitely wants to continue his basketball career. He needs 10 hours to graduate.
If he completes those hours and earns a degree, he could transfer and play at another Division I school immediately.
“Deverell is a good young man,” Miles said. “My hope is he remains in Nebraska and finishes his classes and finds another program where he can flourish. We wish him all the best.”
The former junior college All-American was Nebraska's third-leading scorer. He played in 15 games, but missed four others because of discipline issues.
Biggs was Miles' first recruit, signing a few weeks after Miles arrived from Colorado State to replace Doc Sadler. Biggs was the first in-state recruit at NU in 10 seasons.
After sitting out as a redshirt, Biggs this season averaged 9.9 points, 1.5 assists and 2.3 turnovers a game. His career scoring high was 18 points on Nov. 30 against Northern Illinois. His best Big Ten showing was 14 points and five rebounds in a 71-70 loss to now-No. 10 Michigan.
With Biggs gone, Miles said, look for sophomore guard Benny Parker and junior forward David Rivers to absorb his usual 20.5 minutes a game.