No Matter The Role, He's A Star Penn's Kevin Biagas Is A Team Leader Who Plays Any Position.

Posted: December 14, 1995

His play is as effortless as it is dominant. He seems to glide down the court while others run, appears to have springs in his sneakers instead of feet.

This is North Penn's Kevin Biagas, and he just might be the most versatile basketball player in the area this winter.

Through five games, the 6-foot-3 senior forward is leading the 5-0 Knights, The Inquirer's third-ranked area team, in scoring (20.4 points per game),

rebounding (9.6), and blocked shots (3.2).

Although he starts at power forward, he also is the team's backup at the other four positions.

"I don't think those stats do him complete justice," senior center Jason Wallace said. "I don't think there's a more versatile player around. He has a quick first step, and he can also get off the floor. He has outstanding touch whether the shot is from three feet or 20. And it doesn't matter how big a guy he's up against; he'll take it right to him.

"He's also a great leader. It can be real stressful before a game, and he'll loosen everyone up. It's a unique trait he has. But on the court, he's all business."

Against a Harry S Truman team whose frontcourt players' average height is 6-7, the smaller Biagas scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds Tuesday night. The performance helped the Knights pull out a 59-57 overtime win against one of the teams that will challenge them for the Suburban One Patriot Division crown.

So what is most impressive about Biagas? Is it (a) his shooting touch; (b) his explosive moves; (c) his versatility; or (d) his leadership?

The answer is none of the above.

The most remarkable thing about his start is that his junior campaign ended with a serious knee injury, his second of the season. He has returned without being tentative, or any less driven to win.

*

North Penn had a slim halftime lead at Bensalem in a pivotal game last February, with the winner clinching the Patriot Division title and a high seed in the District 1 playoffs.

Biagas went up for a rebound early in the third quarter, but it looked as though someone had glued his left foot to the hardwood.

"I planted my foot and jumped," he said, "but my foot kind of stayed with the floor while my whole body went left. I knew right away what happened."

Biagas had suffered a partial tear to his medial meniscus (cartilage in a joint), which resulted in the dislocation of his left kneecap. The same injury earlier in the season had forced him to miss the team's first three games.

But to be out of the lineup at the end of the season was devastating, especially because the Knights, who went on to beat the Owls, were expected to advance deep into the postseason. Without Biagas, they were upset by Marple Newtown in their first district playoff game.

"It killed him to have to sit there when we played Marple Newtown and lost," coach Dave Torresani said. "He was sitting there in a Reebok warm-up suit and his game jersey because he wanted to be involved so much.

"He was very mature about it. He was hurting inside, but he was a boost to the other kids. It showed me a side of Kevin Biagas that impressed me quite a bit."

Biagas, who always has been bothered by knee problems because of underdeveloped joints, has never been one to let an injury get the best of him.

So no one was particularly surprised when, without surgery, he showed up for North Penn's summer-league team at Lehigh University in tremendous shape. Running, lifting and special exercises had helped Biagas stay in shape and strengthen both knees.

"What told me he was recovered was when we went to Lehigh," Torresani said. "We played three games a day for 4 1/2 days, and he played almost every minute with no problems at all. And up to this point, he's just been great."

Wallace said he knew his best friend would not need a period of adjustment.

"Kevin is a very strong-minded person," Wallace said. "When he stepped on the court, I knew he wouldn't be tentative. He was going all out."

And he has not slowed down a bit.

Biagas scored 33 total points in his first two games, but he had 69 in his last three.

Along the way, he has spelled Wallace at center and Jay Jameson at point guard.

He also takes the jump balls despite being only the third-tallest starter on the team.

Everyone who knows Biagas says he is playing as well as he was a year ago. Everyone, that is, except Biagas himself.

"Actually, I think I'm doing better now," he said. "In May, when I started working out again )(without scrimmaging), I worked on my outside shooting, and before the summer league I had a full range of motion, and my speed and jumping ability were back.

"In my mind, I shouldn't miss any shots, so I guess I can always improve."

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