LINCOLN — Through two games, the Nebraska men’s basketball team hasn’t missed its top returning scorer or a potential impact newcomer.
Senior guard Ray Gallegos, who averaged 12.5 points last season, and junior guard Deverell Biggs were suspended for those contests — Gallegos for a violation of team rules and Biggs for a DWI last December while sitting out.
Both will return for NU (2-0) in a Sunday home game against South Carolina State (1-2).
“I think they can help us a lot,” sophomore co-captain Shavon Shields said Friday. “They bring different things to the table. Ray brings extra defense and shooting, of course. Deverell brings playmaking on both sides of the floor.”
Husker coach Tim Miles didn’t commit Friday to whether the 6-foot-2 Gallegos would immediately regain his starting spot or how much 6-foot former Omaha Central standout Biggs would play.
“I kind of like playing ‘big,’ ” Miles said, citing his lineup of 6-4 Tai Webster, 6-6 Terran Petteway, 6-7 Shields, 6-8 Leslee Smith and 6-10 Walter Pitchford. “It gives us a lot of defensive length.”
Miles said his sympathy level is low for players who miss games for “self-inflicted” reasons. But he complimented Gallegos and Biggs for staying engaged in practice.
“They did a great job on the scout team,” the coach said. “There were a couple of days they beat us up and made us look silly.”
During one workout, the scout team ran Western Illinois’ offense against the starters in a game of make-it, take-it. Gallegos hit six straight shots.
“It was 18-0 before we got a stop,” Miles said. “I was like, ‘Holy cow, we’ve got to run that stuff for Ray.’ He was feeling loose like he can do anything he wants. We’ll see when the lights come on and he’s got to make the adjustment.”
Biggs hasn’t played in a game since March 2012 at Seward County (Kan.) Community College. The former two-time All-Nebraska pick redshirted last season.
“He’s been waiting a long time to play games,” Miles said. “It’s going to take some time for an adjustment.”
Biggs can be a handful in practice, teammates say.
“He’s got a really good pull-up game, real shifty, creates for people and himself,” Shields said. “He’s a quick guy who can help us on both ends. It’s hard to keep him in front of you using your hands, let alone without using any hands.”
Both players have been welcomed back to active status without any team tension.
“Stuff happens,” Shields said. “Nobody’s perfect. I feel like everybody said, ‘You learn from your mistakes, let’s get over it and try to make it to the NCAA tournament.’ ”