Height/Weight: 6-foot-6 / 215-pounds
Petteway averaged 18.1 points per contest, while pulling down 4.8 rebounds from his guard spot. He was the first Husker in over 60 yards to lead the conference in scoring and was this century’s first unanimous first-team all-conference performer. His play earned him first-team All-Big Ten honors.
It’s hard to imagine Petteway playing at a higher level than he did last season, but the junior knows there are areas of his game that can improve. In addition, defenses will likely center more of their focus on keeping him from touching the basketball.
“Defenses will be more geared towards me now,” said Petteway, who attended both Kevin Durant’s summer skill camp and adidas Nation - geared towards some of the best college basketball players in the game. “I just want to cut down the turnovers this year. I worked on all the regular basketball skills this offseason, like my ball-handling. I also tried to extend my range. The camps were a bonus to being here and working out with Tai [Webster] all summer.”
Considered one of the best underclassmen in college basketball entering this season, Petteway’s future will be heavily debated if he continues to improve off the success he saw last year. While not every online mock draft includes him, Petteway’s name as a late first-rounder has popped up among various respected scouts.
“I can’t think about the NBA right now. If I start thinking about the NBA right now, I’m going to mess up me and my teammates during the year,” said Petteway. “When that time comes, I will put my energy into it, but right now I’m worried about winning a Big Ten title.
“Personally I don’t do social media in the season. That stuff gets into your head. I’m going to just focus on the season. After the season that is when I will think about my decision.”
Petteway is on track to graduate in May after taking a redshirt year last season. He will be 22-years old at that point. With both of those considering factors, Petteway has already had a conversation with head coach Tim Miles about his future draft status.
“I think we are aligned pretty good,” said Miles. “If Terran has a chance to get his degree and be a first-round pick and a chance to secure his future, I would advise him to do that.
“But would I love to keep him and see what the team could do? Absolutely. That would be so cool.”
Losing Petteway for the 2015-16 season would hurt, but if he’s a first-round lock, it would mean Nebraska has one of the best players in college basketball this season.
“He knows he’s got a lot of work to do to be a bona fide no-brainer first-round guy,” Miles said. “There are a lot of 6-6 guys out there. There are a lot of guys taller, too.”
A total of 75 players declared early for the NBA draft last season, including six from the Big Ten. Of the six, four were first round picks, with Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III going in the second round and Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross not being drafted at all - the same Ross who scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament.
“I see guys leave that don’t get drafted and I think that’s silly,” said Miles, who knows the list of players. “I don’t have it, but I know who does. It’s been accumulated, let’s just put it that way…Why would you not want to be in college and make the most of your career?”
When watching his star player, Miles is reminded of a former NBA all-star.“He’s got this Latrell Sprewell without the total crazy in his game,” Miles said of Petteway. Sprewell was a the No. 24 pick in the 1992 draft and averaged 18.3 points per game over the course of 13 seasons with Golden State, New York, and Minnesota.
“You have to live with some mistakes - a foul that maybe you didn’t want or a turnover, but I would rather leave him unleashed than put him in a box and limit his game. He can really takeover and he proved that last year.”
Against Nebraska’s toughest opponents last season, Petteway took his game to another level, averaging 20.8 points and 4.9 rebounds against top-50 RPI teams. Petteway recorded a double-double (26 points, 10 rebounds) against No. 9 Wisconsin at the end of the year to help the Huskers clinch the No. 4 spot in the conference.
How he ended up in Lincoln:
As a true freshman at Texas Tech, Pettaway in played 27 games, starting 11. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds a game, but decided to transfer the Red Raiders decided to switch coaches.