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February 17, 2014

Petteway still humble despite latest Big Ten award

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Terran Petteway first heard the news as he was walking out of his study hall session on Monday morning, when assistant coach Chris Harriman congratulated him on being named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week.

After averaging 19.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in leading Nebraska to wins over Illinois and No. 9 Michigan State last week, it was certainly a well-deserved honor for the sophomore wing. Being the humble and focused player he is, though, Petteway enjoyed the honor for only a brief moment before putting it aside in favor of far more important, team-related goals - like earning the Huskers' first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998.

"It was pretty exciting, but we've still got a lot of season left," Petteway said of his most recent accolade. "So I can't dwell on it. I've got to move on from it."

Though he almost made it seem like joining Shavon Shields as Nebraska's second conference player of the week this season was more of an inconvenience than an award, that's just the way Petteway works. Yes, he scored 16 points in a win over Illinois and then 23 against the Spartans to give the Huskers their first road victory over a top-10 team since 1997. But the stat he was most proud of when all was said and done on Sunday had nothing to do with points, rebounds or assists.

It was the fact that he ended the game with zero turnovers for the first time this season, especially given that he had committed as many as eight in one game earlier in the year. In fact, when the Huskers made their way back to the locker room after the win, one of the first things Petteway did was go up to Miles and make sure he took notice of his turnover-free performance.

"It's very important, because (Miles) always messes with me telling me I'm going to set the school record for the most turnovers in a season," Petteway said. "So when I saw I had zero, I ran up to him and said, 'Hey Coach, zero turnovers today.' … That's a goal for the rest of the season, to cut down on my turnovers and to have one or two at the most each game."

Though his ball security still needs some work, Miles has praised Petteway since before the season even started not only because of his production in games, but for his tireless work ethic in practice and in the weight room to constantly try and get better. Along with not turning the ball over, Miles praised Petteway's defense against Michigan State, as he guarded Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Gary Harris the entire game and kept him relatively in check.

"The guy is a warrior," Miles said during Monday's Big Ten coaches' teleconference. "Against Michigan State he guarded Gary Harris the entire time. Harris is a wonderful player, and (Petteway) did a good job on him. Plus he carried the offensive load for us, whether it be ball handling, scoring, whatever it might be. He just continues to get better and continues to get better, and obviously he's a clutch player, too. He makes big shots. He's got the dagger down, that's for sure.

"I'm not sure I've ever had a player work harder at their game than Terran. He is relentless in the gym, in the weight room. He's a much stronger player than he was when he got here. He's a much better shooter, better ball handler in terms of just handling the ball… He's carried the load for us on offense, and yet he's really proud that he didn't turn the ball over yesterday. That's something he's really trying to get better at, so he's got a great attitude that way."




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