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March 11, 2014

Miles, Petteway honored by Big Ten accolades

Tim Miles didn't feel any different when he woke up Tuesday morning than any other day, but the fact of the matter was things had just changed for him in a big way less 24 hours earlier.

In just his second season at Nebraska, Miles was voted by his coaching peers as the 2013-14 Big Ten Coach of the Year on Monday. Michigan's John Beilein won the award from the league's media, but the fact that Miles - who had never coached a game at the high-major level until last season - could win the respect of some of the best coaches in college basketball so quickly was just the latest indication that the Huskers found someone special in the 47-year-old native of tiny Dolan, S.D.

In fact, the first fellow coach to call with congratulations was Michigan State's Tom Izzo, the same man who was the first to call Miles after his first even Big Ten victory.

"Coach Izzo is great," Miles said. "Bo Ryan is the same way. I mean, they care about the league as much as they care about their own program. I mean, they are Big Ten people, and I want to be one of those guys some day. I'm not even close. I don't know what to say. I can't describe how humbling it is that your peers vote you that. It's just like, it doesn't make sense to me, but at the same time, it wouldn't have happened without a group that bought in and absolutely just played better than anybody expected them to play.

"They exceeded all expectations. And a coaching staff that's really, really good. These guys are so good, whether it be the ops guys, the video guys, up to our assistants, I don't think people get how much impact they have on our program… I'm the face of the program, certainly, but this is something I think everybody's got to feel happy and proud for, and I hope they do, because it wouldn't have happened without these guys… This doesn't happen without that administrative support. I've been really lucky. I've had things at my disposal that Doc, Barry and guys before me didn't have. We're going to try and make it right, and we're going to try and keep doing it over and over."

Miles said his parents shed tears of joy when they heard about their son's latest triumph, though his wife, Kari, gave him a bit of the same sarcasm he's become famous for during his rise up the coaching ranks, particularly over the $50,000 bonus he received for winning the league's Coach of the Year honor.

"My wife gave me kind of a, 'Oh, so the Coach of the Year is home, huh?' You know, one of those," Miles said. "She didn't know I had all these incentives, and so now she's thinking new kitchen. Thanks."

Miles wasn't the only Husker to be acknowledged on Monday, as sophomore wing Terran Petteway was named first-team All-Big Ten after leading the league in scoring at 18.0 points per game. Being the humble personality he is, though, Petteway was quick to pass the credit on to his teammates and coaches.

"I was excited and happy that I got it, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without my coaches and my teammates this year," Petteway said. "Those guys got me the ball and found me in the right spot, so I've got to give the credit to my coaches and my teammates for the award."

While Petteway has never been one to gloat, Miles praised the former Texas Tech transfer for the work he's put in over the past two years since coming to Nebraska to make himself of the best players in the Big Ten.

"It's really cool," Miles said. "I think that for a guy that came out averaging three points as a freshman who put in the amount of hard work he put in - I've seen a lot of guys really work hard on their own game and not be able to translate that into the team form. But Terran can. The comparison I would use is Latrell Sprewell, without the threatening nature. The guy who can go out and score. A guy who can go out and accelerate, is really a team guy on all accounts, and it's really about winning first.

"He wants to do well, but he's always happy whenever we win… At the end of the day, Terran earned it, and he figured out how to put all that hard work into game form, especially in one of the elite conferences in the country."

The other Husker to be recognized by the league on Monday was sophomore forward Shavon Shields, who was named honorable-mention all-conference after overcoming some injury struggles earlier in the season to emerge as one of NU's top players down the stretch. Shields closed the regular season by being named the Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time this year, making him the first Nebraska player to earn the honor twice in a season since Aleks Maric back in 2007-08.

Shields might not have said it, but Petteway wasn't shy about giving his feelings on Shields only getting honorable-mention honors.

"We know how that goes," Petteway said. "We can't control that. We can only control how many games we win and what we do in the tournament, but I think he should've got way higher than that."

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