It’s that time of year again. Even with football season in full swing, men’s basketball season is right around the corner. To kick off our 2020-2021 coverage of the men’s team, we will preview each player on Northwestern’s roster. We looked at transfer Chase Audige yesterday, and now we’ll discuss guard Boo Buie.
Who he is
Sophomore; point guard; 6-foot-2; 180 pounds; former three-star recruit; Albany, NY; younger brother of former Penn State basketball star Talor Battle
25.0 minutes per game; 10.3 points; 2.4 assists; 2.2 rebounds; .376 FG%; .282 3P%; .708 FT%
After being thrust into action early in his freshman season due to a depleted backcourt, Buie stepped up immediately. He averaged an impressive 16.3 points and 3.2 assists while shooting 52% from the floor over a five-game stretch in December, securing himself a spot in the starting lineup.
However, a foot injury in early January that sidelined him for five games derailed Buie’s hot streak. He never quite returned to December form, as his season-long shooting marks indicate. And although Buie had his moments on the offensive end of the court, he was too inconsistent to establish himself as a go-to scorer.
Buie has the potential to be a major offensive threat, even though his low efficiency from from this past year may not reflect it. He scored 19 points or more in four games this past season, more than any of his teammates besides Miller Kopp. In those games, Buie had a shot 60% from the field shot 59% from three, showing ‘Cats fans he has the ability to score from anywhere on the court. With more consistency off the dribble, he can become the spark plug on offense that Northwestern so desperately needs.
Buie also showed off some impressive passing skills this past season. Though he was sloppy with the ball at times, he still tossed some eye-catching, full-court passes and displayed playmaking abilities that stood out.
While Buie clearly has the tools to become a dynamic player, he has trouble creating space. After demonstrating his shooting prowess early in the season, teams began to play up higher on him, and the freshman guard wasn’t able to adjust. Even with the help of screens, he would often settle for contested shots or end up on the floor after a drive. If Buie wants to elevate his offensive game, he needs to do a better job of overcoming the increased defensive attention that comes his way.
Defensively, Buie struggled this past season, particularly with guarding the ball. His wiry, 6-foot-2 frame made it difficult for him to fight around screens. He also had a tendency to get lost in the zone that head coach Chris Collins likes to play. In order to become even a mediocre B1G-level defender, Buie will have to be more ready to fight around screens and improve his overall defensive awareness.
Buie returns to Evanston with a year of experience under his belt as NU’s starting point guard. With the departure of guard Pat Spencer, the Albany native is poised to become the primary scorer and ball-handler on a team that struggled offensively last season.
This year’s additions of Chase Audige and Ty Berry, both of whom seem like immediate impact guards, should aid Buie. But his natural talent to score the basketball will determine his success. Buie will have to prove that the flashes of excellence he showed last year were no fluke. If he can develop that consistency, Northwestern fans should be hopeful for, at the very least, more than three conference wins this season.