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Omaha Biliew’s Cyclone pride on display early

Matteo Bender
Omaha Biliew trying to convert off of a lob during the Iowa State vs. Idaho State match, Hilton Coliseum, Nov. 12, 2023.

AMES — With one week of the regular season already finished, one player has been quieter than some fans expected: Omaha Biliew.

The five-star recruit was expected to make a big splash right away, but has been slowly getting used to the speed of college play. Biliew has provided solid minutes off the bench, but early foul trouble in the first three games has kept him from filling up the stat sheet.

Early on, it seemed that Biliew was still nervous to take the court.

“As a basketball player, you know that curse of wanting to be great,” Biliew said. “Sometimes you do gotta slow it down and be within the moment.”

As a big Iowa State fan growing up, Biliew has been ready for his moment at Hilton for a long time. He does not see himself as a superstar because he is a five-star recruit. He saw himself as a piece in Iowa State’s system that could lead the team to success.

Biliew wants to do great things for the team and help the team win, because he already has pride in being a Cyclone.

“We’re really fortunate to have a guy who cares the way he does. The amount of pride he has even leading into our first game,” Otzelberger said. “How excited he was to finally put on a Cyclone uniform and run around the court. You love that.”

Omaha Biliew shooting a free throw during the Iowa State vs. Idaho State match, Hilton Coliseum, Nov. 12, 2023. (Matteo Bender)

Although he was nervous to put on a Cyclone uniform at first, he did settle down over the last two games of week one. After one outing as a Cyclone, he was ready to get to work and provide useful minutes for the team.

“I was just trying to get the jitters out the way,” Biliew said. “It felt good. Just trying to get a bucket.”

When Biliew finally got his first bucket, the crowd lit up and he settled down. The jitters of taking the court for the first time were gone.

Now Biliew is taking on his new role in full stride. He understands he is not going to be the superstar of the team right off the bat. Instead, he has to be a great teammate first.

“He cares so much about making the right play and doing the right thing for his team,” Otzelberger said. “What we’ve seen is at times when he gets out there, he wants to do well so badly, he wants to make the right play and do right by his teammates.”

With expectations at an all-time high for Biliew to be a great player right away, Otzelberger is doing his best to stifle those expectations for Biliew and help him focus on getting better.

“Just keeping him understanding that it’s just basketball,” Otzelberger said. “I want either that smile on his face where he loves playing or that killer instinct coming out.”

It could take some time before Biliew hits his stride, but when he does, there is a good chance he could be a star. Otzelberger spoke on the potential he has, and that potential is clear to his teammates as well.

“[Biliew’s] an amazing player, unselfish player,” Demarion Watson said. “He’s really smart. He just does the little things.”

Being unselfish and helping his team win is the first thing Biliew needs to do to be the player he has the potential to be and wants to be.

Biliew said that to achieve his goals and get to the point he knows he can get to, he has to just be patient. He said if he is steady with his growth, he can be great.

“Being me, I’m always working hard,” Biliew said. “I wanna be great. I’ll work hard every single day, day in and day out to make sure that I’m amounting to that standard that I set for myself.”

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