As a result of Northwestern’s bare-bones backcourt situation, Ryan Greer was thrust into the team’s backup point guard role as a freshman, and one a year younger than his peers at that. He played sparingly even despite the Wildcats’ lack of primary ball handler and failed to make much of an impact in his limited minutes. Still, he showed he could competently run coach Chris Collins’ offense, and he held his own on the defensive side of the ball.
Greer is very much a work in progress. He’ll need to improve his shooting and overall scoring ability, but the six-foot-two-inch guard should provide necessary depth at the position going forward and could even prove a reliable starting option by the time he’s an upperclassman.
We’re dealing with a limited sample size here, but there are several concerning pieces that jump off the page at first glance. His assist rate is significantly lower than his turnover rate - a particularly bad characteristic for a player whose job it is the handle the ball. The shooting numbers also aren’t great; Greer shot just over 34 percent from inside the arc and 23.5 percent from three-point range in his first season. He played just nine minutes a game and was rarely aggressive in his limited action, so there is plenty of room for improvement across the board should Greer gain more confidence as his role increases.
Greer had the second lowest field goal percentage at the rim on the team coming in at just 47.4 percent and also had the second worst true shooting percentage of any Wildcat. It’s a little unfair to evaluate Greer’s shooting numbers given just how few shots he attempted, but the shots he did get up certainly weren’t pretty.
For a freshman playing relatively unexpected minutes in one of the best conferences in the country, Greer often looked surprisingly comfortable out there. He played well within the flow of both the offense and defense and showed signs that he has the fundamentals to one day be the team’s primary ball handler.
Shooting and turnovers. 17-55 from the field is just not good enough at this level, especially if you’re going to give the ball away (26 turnovers) more often than your passes lead to made shots (24 assists). He’s young, but Greer was too big of a liability on the offensive end in his first year.
With Northwestern basketball undergoing so much turnover between graduation and a variety of transfers, Greer will be a welcome returner for a position at which the team is already notoriously thin. He’ll still need to become a more consistent shooter and find a way to create his own shot more often. The turnover problem will likely take care of itself as Greer sees more minutes and gets used to stingy Big Ten defenses, so the focus should be on getting as many shots up as possible this offseason and working on his stroke.
The Bottom Line
Despite his role as backup point guard, Greer didn’t get enough playing time for us to truly get a feel for his overall ability and potential. He, at times, looked better than the numbers would suggest, as there was rarely a noticeable dip in the Wildcats’ quality of play when he checked into the game. That being said, Collins will eventually need him to go beyond maintaining the status quo and actually elevate the team. To do that, Greer will need to develop his abilities as a scorer - both at the rim and from 10 feet and beyond.