B1G Award Spotlight: Terran PettewayPosted by Brendan Brody on January 30th, 2014
With the season now turning toward the home stretch, it’s time to start contemplating and discussing which players are most worthy and likely to see their names on the Big Ten all-league teams. As an example, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway has seemingly come out of nowhere to lead the Cornhuskers in scoring in his first season on the active roster, one of a number of first-year players who have helped Tim Miles’ rebuilding efforts. While Tai Webster, Walter Pitchford, Leslee Smith and the now-exiled Deverell Biggs have all contributed in various ways, none have had the impact of Petteway. He’s already become one of the best go-to scorers in the league, checking in at third on the league leaders list at 18.2 PPG. The question to be answered here is where does he deserve to be placed in terms of all-league consideration?
The usual theory that coincides with how these all-league teams are picked is “to the victor goes the spoils.” Fair or not, given the concentration of talent among 12 teams, a player normally needs to be on team that finishes in the top third of the standings to make the first team. In the last three seasons, only two first-team selections have come from teams that didn’t finish in the top four of that season’s standings (Robbie Hummel and John Shurna in 2011-12). Sitting at 10th right now at 2-5 in Big Ten play, this likely takes Petteway out of first-team consideration unless Nebraska goes on an epic hot streak over its last 11 games. That does not mean, however, that he’s precluded from placement on either the second- or third-team all-conference squads.
Exhibit A for the Petteway argument is his 35-point performance against Minnesota on Sunday, as he did a little bit of everything in leading the Huskers to an upset win at home. The next argument in his favor should be his consistency. He’s hit double figures in scoring in 18 of 19 games, putting up 30 against UMass, 21 against Creighton, and 22 against defensive juggernaut Cincinnati. In league play, he’s averaging 19.7 PPG on 59 percent shooting on two-point shots, illustrating his ability to get to the basket and an effective mid-range game from 10-16 feet. He’s had a high mark of 12 rebounds against Iowa, and has led his team in assists six times, steals five times, and blocks eight times. That’s production.
Digging a little deeper, he’s 11th in the Big Ten in true shooting percentage (58.2%), 20th in eFG% (51.8), 19th in block percentage (2.67), and 22nd in defensive rebounding percentage (15.5). This shows that he’s doing so much more than simply being a scorer. He finds multiple ways to contribute for a team that desperately needs him to do so. While Shavon Shields and Ray Gallegos have alternated between heavy contributors and non-factors, Petteway has filled up the stat sheet on a regular basis.
As it stands right now, Petteway should definitely be in the mix for third-team all-B1G, with an outside chance of making it on to the second team. He’s arguably one of the most valuable players in the conference, in the category of players like Drew Crawford and Tim Frazier who play for teams at the bottom of the league. If he keeps scoring 20 points per night for the rest of the season, there’s a good chance he’ll get the recognition he deserves, and that Nebraska will compete and win its fair share of games the rest of the way. His all-conference status pushes upward the closer the Cornhuskers get to .500.