Terran Petteway earned his college degree Saturday when he received his diploma at UNL graduation ceremonies.
Three days later, the former Nebraska guard will begin the next step to further his career — in basketball.
Petteway is among 62 players invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, which begins Tuesday and continues through Sunday in Chicago.
He enters with a chance to prove himself, both on the court and off, to NBA teams, with hopes of becoming Nebraska’s first NBA Draft pick since 1999.
“My confidence level is real high,” Petteway said when he announced he was forgoing his final season of eligibility to enter the draft. “I feel like once I get in those workouts, I’ll move up on the boards and definitely be a first-rounder.”
He’ll have some work to do.
Most mock NBA Draft sites have Petteway going undrafted, with one, NBADraft.net, continuing to keep Petteway on the board as a second-round pick.
“I’m just going to be myself, really. I’m not going into the league, trying to compare my game to somebody else,” Petteway said. “I’m going in with the same mindset that I came to Nebraska with, just being a complete player, trying to be a good player on defense and offense, not really try to compare my game to anybody else.”
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The pre-draft combine will include medical testing, interviews with NBA teams, five-on-five games, shooting drills and strength and agility testing.
The 6-foot-6 Petteway, too small to be a wing in the NBA, would likely fill a niche role, if drafted. He’s intent on working on improving his shooting, ball-handling and decision-making in pre-draft workouts.
“I can see teams that really like him, (and) I can see teams that wonder where he fits in,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “But I think anybody drafting him would love having him on their team, and I think he’d make a team better.”
Petteway scored 1,143 points in his two seasons with Nebraska, leading the Huskers in scoring both seasons and earning first-team and third-team All-Big Ten honors. He transferred from Texas Tech.
Petteway, who turns 23 in October, said age was a factor in his decision to declare early. He noted former Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick, a fifth-year senior, going undrafted in last year’s NBA Draft. Now 25, Kilpatrick is in the NBA Development League.
Petteway also mentioned Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier, who returned for his senior year and was the No. 24 pick in last year's draft.
“I thought those guys were lottery picks in my eyes,” Petteway said. “The guy from Cincinnati was a heck of a player. I had to guard him. I felt those guys were the best guys in the draft, and one of them didn’t even get drafted, so that played a part in my decision as well.”
Former Nebraska forward Walter Pitchford also declared for early entry into the NBA Draft but will not be participating in the pre-draft combine. Pitchford said Monday he’s signed with agent Mike Naiditch.
The NBA Draft is June 25 in New York.