Nebraska junior forward Terran Petteway plans to declare for the 2015 NBA draft, sources tell RealGM. Announcement likely after Final Four.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 2, 2015
Terran Petteway will be one of the most talked about players in Nebraska basketball history. At least recent history. Petteway came to NU as a little used, lesser know, Guard from Texas Tech who transferred to Nebraska after Billy Gillispie ran off several players before himself being run out of Lubbock. When Petteway finally got his opportunity in Lincoln, he did not disappoint. In fact, he so far exceeded expectations that the conversation turned from "who is this guy?" to "how long will he stick around?" Petteway broke onto the scene for the Big Red as a sophomore, leading not only the Huskers in scoring, but the Big Ten as well, averaging more than 18 points per game. His emergence, along with the play of Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford propelled the Huskers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998.
Petteway is not without his critics, however. Some didn’t like his reluctance to give up the ball, thinking he took too many shots and didn’t involve his teammates enough. Others thought his emotional outbursts, occasionally leading to erratic play and silly fouls were impacting his teammates too much. Reality, however, is that without the contributions and leadership from Petteway, Nebraska does not make the NCAA Tournament, which brought with it an increased interest by recruits when Head Coach Tim Miles would show up at a gym or make a phone call. Petteway was central to all of that and all of it was good.
Opinions vary as to whether or not he’ll be selected in the June 25th event. Some have him as a mid to late second round pick. Most have him not selected at all. None have him going in the first round or lottery, where the money is guaranteed. Regardless of what happens, an opportunity to play in the NBDL is likely as would be a contract to play professionally overseas. Petteway joins Walter Pitchford and Tarin Smith as departures from this year’s team and leaves the 2015-16 season with more questions than it does answers.
The reasons for Petteway to leave with a year of eligibility in college remaining are many and all perfectly valid. He will finish his coursework in Ethnic Studies in May and will graduate. He is 23. Older than most seniors. He’s not getting any younger and the window of opportunity at his position can be narrow and close in a hurry. There’s little chance he’ll improve his draft stock considerably with another year at Nebraska. Also, the well-documented battle his mother is enduring with cancer has to weigh heavily in his thought process as well. He’s stated his goal for her to see him play in the NBA. With so much uncertainty with her health, the clock may be ticking on fulfilling that wish as well.
While the desire to lead Nebraska to it’s first NCAA win in school history may be a significant draw to come back to Lincoln. If he had pulled that off his status in program history would be as high as any player ever to lace up the sneakers for the Scarlet and Cream. Even without it, his legacy is secure; he’ll go down as one of the best players in Husker history.