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Northwestern basketball player previews: G/F Scottie Lindsey

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After his 2016-17 breakout season, what is next for Lindsey?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Northwestern vs Vanderbilt Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is just around the corner. To get ready for the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats’ season, we will bring you in-depth player previews for every scholarship member of the 2017-18 Northwestern Wildcats. The final three begins with talented scorer Scottie Lindsey.

Who he is:

Senior; guard/forward; 6-foot-5, 210 pounds; Hillside, Ill.

The stats:

14.1 points per game; 30.6 minutes; 3.8 rebounds; 2.3 assists; .424/.322/.840 shooting splits; one case of mono

2016-17 review:

Out of any 2016-17 Wildcat, it was Scottie Lindsey who made “The Leap.” As a junior, Lindsey became one of Northwestern’s go-to scorers, increasing his scoring average from 6.4 to 14.1, good for second-best on the team. After two seasons characterized by inconsistency, Lindsey scored in double figures in Northwestern’s first 20 games in 2016-17. The wing carried the offense at times with his sharpshooting, nailing five threes each against DePaul and Penn State. Just look at all that green.

Courtesy of kenpom.com

Unfortunately, after the Jan. 29 game against Indiana, Lindsey was diagnosed with mononucleosis and missed the next four matchups. Northwestern struggled without their go-to scorer, going 1-3 and averaging only 62.5 points per game. When Lindsey returned, it was clear it took him a couple week to get back to game speed-- he failed to crack 15 points until his sixth game back and struggled from beyond the three-point arc. Nonetheless, Lindsey was arguably Northwestern’s MVP through mid-January, and without his development on the offensive end, the Wildcats would have had a drastically different season.

Strengths:

Lindsey proved to be a dynamic scoring threat for most of 2016-17. A late season slump caused his three-point percentage to dip to 33.2, but Lindsey made more than enough threes to justify the 5.6 he hoisted per game. The senior made 57.1% of his shots at the rim, a higher rate than any of Northwestern’s guards last season. A hard nose in the paint led to plays like this:

Another big part of Lindsey’s development was his improved ability to get to the line. The Hillside, Ill. native attempted just 23 free throws in 2015-16. In 2016-17, that number was 81. An 84 percent mark from the line helped Lindsey fill the stat sheet easily.

Lindsey also showed a propensity for havoc on the defensive end, averaging nearly a steal per game. He also used his length to grab nearly four rebounds a contest.

Weaknesses:

When Lindsey’s shots weren’t falling, Northwestern’s offense often ground to a halt.

Even though Lindsey developed into a go-to scorer for Northwestern last year, he’ll tell you he wants to become even more dependable.

“Just being consistent,” said Lindsey when asked about what aspects of his game he wants to improve. “I think I had a lot of games where I shot the ball well and there were times I went into slumps.”

Getting to the line more often is a way for Lindsey to score easy points. Lindsey attacked the paint much more last season, but his free throw rate still lagged behind slashers like Vic Law and Isiah Brown. Three-point shooting is Lindsey’s speciality, (he knows it, too — 47 percent of his shots came from behind the arc) but keeping defenders honest by driving to the rim and getting to the line more frequently would be another step in the right direction for Lindsey.

Expectations:

One of 21 college players at Under Armour’s All-America camp this summer, Lindsey had the opportunity to develop his game alongside stars like Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson. Following his breakout season, Lindsey is now squarely on the national radar. Expecting another major leap from the senior is unreasonable, but Lindsey said the focus is “about getting better, not taking any steps backwards.” For Lindsey that means consistency and efficiency on the offensive end, and intensity and leadership on the defensive end.