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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews 2021-22: G Ty Berry

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The sophomore guard is back in what should be a bigger and better role this season.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, we’re just under a month away from basketball season. That’s right, both men’s and women’s basketball games are right around the corner. For our coverage of the 2021-22 coverage of the men’s team, we’re previewing each and every player on Northwestern’s roster. Up next is Ty Berry, a sophomore guard out of Newton, Kan.

Who he is

Sophomore; guard; 6-foot-2; Newton, Kan.; attended Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita; former 247Sports three-star recruit.

Career Stats

14.5 minutes per game, 5.1 points per game, 0.9 assists per game, 1.5 rebounds per game, 0.8 steals per game, 40.2 FG%, 36.5 3P%, 60.0 FT%.

2020-21 Review

Berry primarily saw the court in a bench/reserve role in his first year, operating as the spark plug of the team’s second unit. Berry shined in his role early in the season, as he started the year making 57% of his 21 three-point attempts. However, as the team’s record slid, the freshman’s shooting splits did the same. During the ‘Cats 13-game skid, Berry’s field goal average dipped to 30.5% (11-of-36), and his three-point average dropped to just 26.9% (7-of-26).

While Berry had the ability to come off the bench and light up the opposing defense, the inconsistencies were certainly evident in his game. Obviously, as a freshman guard who battled with Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Ryan Greer and Anthony Gaines for playing time, he wasn’t really able to get that many touches. Berry’s shooting was great for the team when it was winning, but somewhat detrimental when it wasn’t.

Strengths

For his first season in Big Ten play, Berry did a solid job of adapting into the team’s spot-up shooter role, and definitely showed promise as far as becoming a dangerous offensive weapon. Even though he did not maintain his heat from deep for the whole season, he still shot well inside the arc at a clip of 52%. The vast majority of usage for Berry was as a shooter, and this year will be very telling in whether that’s a strength or a weakness.

Weaknesses

As touched on above, Berry is one of the team’s “shooter,” especially when Buie is out. However, Berry must develop some more playmaking ability if he wants to earn a larger place in this offense. Berry showed he can be a threat with his close range accuracy, but requires more volume inside the three-point line to become a better three-level scorer. When Berry becomes more efficient from all areas of the court, the odds are that the defense will crash in on him and he will be able to find an open teammate for a good look. This playmaking all comes with reps and game action, but it will come a lot quicker if Berry can nail his close-ups.

Expectations

With Buie and Audige the likely starters, the current expectation for this season is that Berry runs the bench unit, alongside Greer. After Gaines’ transfer, Berry will likely absorb most of those reserve minutes. I think the obvious expectation is that the sophomore guard builds on his inconsistent, yet promising campaign to become a more dangerous version of the bench spark plug he was last year. Additionally, Berry’s tenacious defense (18 steals, second most among returners) will certainly earn him more playing time if Buie continues to be a liability on that front. He may even start a few games here and there if Buie’s struggles from last season continue, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee. However, if Northwestern is to take the next step this season, Berry’s progression will likely be a key reason for the team’s improvement.