Okay, I’ve gone back and forth on this quite a bit. As a matter of fact, just last week I wrote that Nebraska sophomore Terran Petteway was quickly emerging as one of the top candidates for Big Ten Player of The Year; although at the time, I felt he was still slightly behind Michigan‘s Nik Stauskas, and a few others as well.
Well, in the last week, I’ve completely made up my mind. Perhaps the timing may seem a little odd, considering Stauskas absolutely torched the Michigan State Spartans only two days ago, but it is now clear to me that Petteway should undoubtedly be recognized as the conference’s best player.
What determines a conference’s player of the year? Does the criteria have to include the league’s best team? I think a common misconception is that it does. There’s no question about it, the Wolverines are having a terrific season and Stauskas has a lot to do with that. With only four games remaining and considering their schedule, they’re almost guaranteed to win the Big Ten’s regular season title.
With that said, Petteway is averaging 18.4 points per game this season to go along with five rebounds. His average is actually a full point higher in Big Ten play at 19.4 PPG. On the other hand, Stauskas is averaging 16.1 PPG in league play.
Now, I’m sure Michigan fans will disagree with me, but another reason I favor Petteway over Stauskas is because of the emergence of the Wolverine’s Caris LeVert. LeVert has been outstanding this season and Nebraska’s second best option is not even close to having his talent nor versatility. No disrespect to Shavon Shields, LeVert has just been fantastic.
The fact of the matter is that Petteway has been the conference’s most dominant player. He’s certainly been the most valuable Cornhusker in Nebraska’s incredible resurgence, too. A player that was so little known by most of the college basketball world entering this season has ignited a team that was picked to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten standings. He’s given the ‘Huskers a confident, almost cocky swagger. And more importantly, he’s given the city of Lincoln a star.
If Nebraska is able to cap off this Cinderella-like run and qualify for next month’s NCAA tournament, Petteway will be the main reason why. The 6-foot-6 transfer from Texas Tech is the total package and is the best pure scorer in the entire Big Ten. He can beat you from three, attack and get to the rim at will, and is exceptionally tough in transition. When the game is on the line, Petteway finishes. Don’t believe me? Ask Tom Izzo and Michigan State, or Chris Collins and Northwestern.
Petteway has been spectacular, and amazingly consistent too. He’s developed into one of the country’s elite performers, and of the elite players in the Big Ten, the star of Nebrasketball sits alone at the top.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27