No one knew what to expect from Terran Petteway.
No one knew he would lead the Nebraska men’s basketball team 21 times in scoring. Or lead the Big Ten in scoring at almost 18 points a game. Or make first-team All-Big Ten.
No one knew the exact impact the sophomore would have, except for the Nebraska coaching staff, as Petteway drilled the Huskers in practice as a member of the scout team while he waited out his transfer year.
“I remember one of my assistants saying, ‘I can’t imagine he won’t get 16 points a game in the Big Ten,’” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “He’s going to get 6 in transition. He just accelerates so well. He’s going to get fouled and make four or five foul shots, and he shoots all the time. So he’s going to make a couple shots.”
And boy, did he make some big time shots for the Huskers this season, which is why the Daily Nebraskan has picked Petteway as its Male Athlete of the Semester.
And it wasn’t just how many of those shots he made; it was when he made them.
He scored 35 points against Minnesota. He hit a barrage of 3-pointers to help knock off No. 9 Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. He led the team in blocks this year, a lot of the times guarding the opposing team’s top scorer.
He dominated teams in the top 50 RPI, averaging almost 21 points a game, 3 points higher than his average total. Not bad for a guy who could barely score 3 points a game at Texas Tech.
“You know, what’s funny about him is he gets better at everything every game,” Miles said. “So he’s terrible the first half and phenomenal the second half.”
So while people drop their jaws at the incredible turnarounds made by the 6-foot-6-inch guard out of Galveston, Texas, Petteway just shrugs his shoulders. He knew what was going to happen.
“It was because of the coaching staff we’ve got,” Petteway said. “Those guys, the things they do day in and day out, even though they have families, they still dedicate a lot of time to us and to the program and to our players too. So I did expect it.”
And Petteway pushed himself, too.
He worked so hard in the weight room during the offseason, he couldn’t tell if he was getting stronger. He would go into the gym to shoot and could barely lift his arms up. Miles had to force him to take a day off to let his body rest.
Eventually, you could see the results, especially toward the end of the season. Petteway rarely left the floor, unless he was in foul trouble. Miles joked throughout the season that he couldn’t run Petteway when he made mistakes because it doesn’t affect him. He’d just give him a toothbrush and make him clean his office, Miles said one day with a smirk.
His relentless style of play had Miles comparing him to former NBA star Latrell Sprewell earlier this season.
“Minus the menacing nature,” Miles said, chuckling. “I’ve had people improve in the past and not have it translate during a game; Terran isn’t one of those guys.”
All the accolades Petteway received this year made him consider the NBA, where he might have been a first-round pick, according to a couple mock drafts.
Ultimately, though, he comes back ready to better his award-winning season. And Miles can’t wait to see what he’s got.
“He can only get better,” Miles said.