'I feel like myself': Why 5-star phenom Omaha Biliew transferred to Waukee
WAUKEE, Ia. — During one sequence of Waukee's basketball practice Tuesday, a four-star 2021 prospect drained a 3-pointer. That prospect then passed to a fellow top-150 2021 talent. The ball eventually found its way to a four-star 2023 prospect for a corner 3-point attempt. On the other end of the floor, a five-star 2023 prospect got an easy lay-up.
With Drake signee Tucker DeVries, Iowa signee Payton Sandfort, Pryce Sandfort and Omaha Biliew all on the same Waukee team, that's what practices — and games this winter — are going to look like.
And that's the biggest reason that Biliew chose to play for the Warriors.
After flirting with the notion of playing for prep powerhouse Hillcrest Prep in Arizona over the offseason, Biliew, a 6-foot-8 combo forward who is a top-five national prospect with the likes of Kentucky's John Calipari recruiting him, decided to transfer from Dowling Catholic to Waukee last July.
"I feel like myself (at Waukee)," Biliew told the Register on Tuesday. "I love playing around these types of players because I get challenged all the time. If I want to be (an elite) player and go to the next level, I’ve got to surround myself with other great players that can challenge me. I’m getting held accountable."
Biliew averaged 6.2 points and 3.6 points per game last year for a 16-8 Maroons team that came one win short of the state tournament. He started 11 of Dowling's 24 games and was usually a secondary option on a team filled with seniors.
He currently holds offers from Iowa, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan and Western Kentucky, and Kentucky is among the many other schools showing interest.
"A lot of stuff played into it, personally," Biliew told the Register of his transfer, "but I felt more at home and I just feel like I’m more comfortable playing basketball here. And I’m having fun here, and that’s all there is to it. If I have fun with basketball, then I’m going to love it and I’m going to play to the best of my abilities."
Waukee went 23-3 last year and lost to Ankeny in the Class 4A title game.
"You just feel the love out here," Biliew said. "Waukee has a lot of love for the basketball program, and I’m just glad for that. I love these types of environments."
Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.