LINCOLN — The Nebraska men’s basketball team picked a captain who has yet to play a game.
It’s not as surprising as you might think.
What the Huskers saw from sophomore Terran Petteway as he sat out a transfer season from Texas Tech convinced them the 6-foot-6 wing from Galveston, Texas, was prime leadership material.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Terran Petteway is our hardest worker,” NU coach Tim Miles said Monday. “We have to talk him out of the gym.
“There is no doubt he’s our most relentless competitor. We have to talk him down at times because he’s so hypercompetitive. I think guys follow that, and respect that.”
Petteway, fifth-year senior guard Ray Gallegos and sophomore wing Shavon Shields are the 2013-14 co-captains. Miles said he offered to help pick captains or to run a vote, but the players did it on their own after telling the coaches to leave the room.
“It’s good,” Miles said. “That shows a team that says, ‘These are guys we believe in and these are guys we want to be our voice.’ ”
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The Huskers returned to practice Monday at Pinnacle Bank Arena after spending more time recently at the Hendricks Training Complex.
Out of 30 preseason practices, Miles hopes to have at least one-third in the new arena.
“I’d feel OK with that,” he said. “We need to be in there as much as possible. It’s important our guys get a feel for the lighting. I want all the lights on in there and run up that energy bill. I want it to be an environment like it’s going to be for a game.”
The first two weeks of practice have produced some injuries.
Walk-on guard Tim Wagner will miss the season after suffering a dislocated and fractured ankle. He underwent surgery to install two plates and eight screws. Recovery time of four to six months is expected.
Wagner, from Galesville, Ill., had some small-college offers, but chose to walk on at NU. Wagner’s father is a coaching friend of Miles.
“It was a really gruesome injury,” Miles said. “The kid handled it like a champ. He’s a kid I really enjoyed having in our program. He was just starting to figure things out.”
>> Freshman guard Tai Webster has missed five practices with a sprained ankle, and could miss all of this week, too.
>>Junior forward Leslee Smith, who suffers from chronic knee pain, has favored the knee enough at times to create a tender hamstring that has limited his practice work.
>>Freshman guard Nathan Hawkins missed two practices with a slight concussion, but has recovered.
Nebraska has an exhibition game Nov. 4 against Nebraska-Kearney, then opens the regular season at home Nov. 8 against Florida Gulf Coast with an 8 p.m. tipoff on BTN.