MBB: Nebraska backcourt preview

In just his second year with the program, is senior Dylan Talley ready to lead?

One of the Big Ten's best bench players a year ago, guard Dylan Talley will be asked to serve a bigger role for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2012-13. The senior averaged 8.9 points per contest, good for third on the team, 11 times going over double-figures last season.

"There is an opportunity for him that if he grabs it, and is willing to work, he could have a lot of success," said Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman. "It's about him and us putting him in the right situation. We have to understand his strength and know how to use him."

With a new coaching staff in place, Talley has helped the transition this season by taking a more active leadership role this summer in offseason workouts.

"I think he has a want to be really successful this year," said Nebraska assistant coach Ben Johnson. "I don't think he's afraid to voice his opinion and grab guys and get them locked in if they sway a bit."

Joining Talley in the backcourt will be numerous newcomers, but the Huskers will see junior Ray Gallegos return to the lineup. The Utah native redshirted in 2011-12, after averaging 5.0 points per game on 40 percent shooting the year before. Gallegos used the redshirt season to work on his offensive game and bulk up, in hopes to help him on the defensive end of the floor.

Freshman Benny Parker (Kansas City, Kansas) and Shavon Shields (Olathe, Kansas) could see time this year as key contributors off the bench for the backcourt. Parker averaged 24.8 points and 6.2 assists last season, helping Sumner Academy win a Kansas City-Atchison League title.

"Benny is going to have to probably step into a bigger role than he's ready for. But sometimes in those sink or swim deals, kids make strides dramatically," said Harriman. "I think he came in and was really uncomfortable with us. The more comfortable he's got with us and understood what we expect, the better he's got."

Shields is the son of former Husker and college football hall of famer Will Shields. As a senior, he averaged over 20 points a game and 8.4 rebounds.

"I think it's going to be the transition of the speed of the game from high school to college that he needs to work," said Harriman when talking about Shields. "Everything is too fast for him right now. But I think he's adjusting really well. Those two kids are in the gym all the time. They are always working."

Likely pushing the guards will be junior college transfer Deverell Biggs, who could redshirt this season. The junior college All-American was Tim Miles first recruit at Nebraska and played his prep ball at Omaha Central. Biggs averaged 14.6 points per game last season, with just over 3.1 assists a contest at Seward Community College. Biggs chose Nebraska over offers from Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, and Utah State.


1.) Deverel Biggs, 6-foot/170 pounds, Jr.
Former Omaha Central product likely to redshirt this season.

2.) David Rivers, 6-foot-7/175 pounds, So.
Could be in line for big playing time after 19 games last year.

3.) Benny Parker, 5-foot-9/170 pounds, Fr.
Will likely be thrown into the fire early.

4.) Max Ritchie, 6-foot-4/170 pounds, Fr.
Walk-on once scored 41 points in a game at Nebraska City.

10.) Trevor Menke, 5-foot-11/172 pounds, So.
Scout team leader from a year ago, played in three games.

15.) Ray Gallegos, 6-foot-2/176 pounds, Jr.
Redshirt last season to work on his game and build frame.

24.) Dylan Talley, 6-foot-5/ 214 pounds, Sr.
The returning leading scorer from a year ago – averaged 8.9.

31.) Shavon Shields, 6-foot-6/212 pounds, Fr.
Son of former Nebraska football great Will Shields

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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