The RTC All-Big Ten Team: Nebraska’s Terran PettewayPosted by Jonathan Batuello on March 11th, 2014
We are coming down to the final few and the RTC choice for Big Ten Player of the Year. Today continues the series with one of the biggest surprises in the conference in Nebraska‘s Terran Petteway. Petteway sat out all of last season after transferring from Texas Tech, but has made his presence known quickly this year. His surge has coincided with Nebraska’s as the Cornhuskers clinched fourth in the conference and are on the verge of a NCAA Tournament berth. Without Petteway’s play this year Nebraska is likely where most people had them before the season began – toward the cellar.
Why Terran Petteway is the third best player in the league: Petteway has really played strong all season with just two games where he scored in single digits. He has averaged 18 PPG and 4.9 RPG. His scoring has him leading the conference with the ability to score from deep and attack the basket. When he goes inside he often draws contact and capitalizes with the most free throws made (152), second most attempts (186) and third best percent (81.7) in the conference. His ability to do it all offensively has been a key component to the Nebraska offense as he forces defenders to play him both inside and out and has started to draw heavy focus to open the field up for guys like Shavon Shields.
Signature Moment: The biggest moment may have been the latest game as Petteway scored 26 to beat Wisconsin at home and potentially secure the NCAA Tournament berth. The signature one, though, was what helped start this Nebraska run and the most points scored in a conference game all season against Minnesota. Petteway dropped a career-high 35 on the Golden Gophers as he shot 66.7 percent from the field and added in six rebounds. Petteway also had the clinching free throws as the Cornhuskers were up 80-78 with 2.7 seconds left when he went to the foul line and nailed both. The performance and win started a Nebraska streak where the Cornhuskers finished the season 10-2 to make its push toward the top of the conference. Tough to beat a career-high that helped change a season that dramatically.
Going Forward: For now, Petteway’s focus will be on that first round Big Ten Tournament game against either Ohio State or Purdue. Nebraska still needs a win or two to guarantee its NCAA Tournament berth. After that, it is likely Petteway stays for another year. Most NBA Mock Drafts have him as a late first round or early second round draft pick. The key question with Petteway having sat out a season is he is technically a junior, so the age issue could push him into the draft. If he does stay, it is hard to see him increasing his scoring, but he could look to limit his turnovers, raise his field goal percentage and become a stronger defensive player. Come back and do that and he would be playing for a Nebraska team that could be, hold your breath, a Big Ten favorite next season. The Cornhuskers lose Ray Gallegos but Shields, Petteway and basically everyone else back it would be in the conversation depending on what happens with other teams.