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. Up next is guard Ryan Greer, a junior from Atlanta, Georgia.
Who he is
Junior; point guard; 6-foot-2; 190 pounds; former three-star recruit; Atlanta, Georgia
8.2 minutes per game, 1.0 points, 0.9 assists, 0.6 rebounds, .333 FG%, .333 3P%, .750 FT%
Despite entering the season as the team’s only point guard with playing experience, Greer did not receive much playing time. Instead, the Atlanta native saw sporadic minutes off the bench, as Chris Collins often relied on the tandem of graduate transfer Pat Spencer and true freshman Boo Buie to run the point instead. It’s telling that Greer played less last season than he did as a freshman, when he was a backup point guard, especially considering the lack of experience and depth at the position.
In his limited playing time, Greer did not make much of an impact on the stat sheet. He shot the ball just 27 times all season, and although seeing the floor in most games, he often went multiple minutes without recording any type of statistic.
Although it is difficult to make any definitive takeaways from Greer’s sophomore season due to his lack of playing time, he did make major strides as a ball handler. The junior recorded just four turnovers to twenty assists, a major jump from his negative assist-to-turnover ratio from the year before. Greer didn’t make any eye-opening plays from a playmaking perspective, but he did protect the ball well on offense while still managing to direct the offense.
Greer’s energy on defense was another consistent positive. Although the 6-foot-2 guard was never the quickest or most athletic player on the floor, he moved his feet well and pestered opposing guards with constant pressure while rotating well on defense. Greer never shut anyone down, but his increased defensive presence was an encouraging sign.
Even from a limited sample of 27 shots, it’s clear that Greer still has big strides to make before becoming any type of threat on the offensive side of the ball. He shot just 21.4% on two-pointers, one of the lowest marks on the team. As one of the smaller players on the floor at all times, Greer had a tendency to shoot floaters when attacking the rim, but he failed to connect on them at a high enough clip to be effective. He will need to resolve his shooting struggles if he wants to make a bigger impact on the floor.
Greer’s lack of a defined role throughout all of last season was also concerning. From the start of last year, it was Pat Spencer, who hadn’t played organized basketball in four years, and Boo Buie, a low three-star recruit, that got the call to run the backcourt. This lack of playing time does not bode well for Greer’s final two years in Evanston.
Pat Spencer’s departure opens up significant minutes at the point guard position, but the addition of guards Ty Berry and Chase Audige, as well as Anthony Gaines’ return from injury, will make minutes in the backcourt hard to come by for Greer. It’s likely that the junior will play a similar role that he did last season, playing a few minutes per game, but his role on the team could diminish altogether if Berry and Audige impress.
However, Greer is one of the oldest and most experienced members of the team. Even if his playing time decreases again, Greer could step into a leadership role off the court for this young and still inexperienced backcourt.