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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews 2021-22: F Robbie Beran

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The junior forward can turn things around this season.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Illinois Patrick Gorski-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 Robbie Beran, a sophomore junior out of Richmond, Virginia.

Who he is

Junior; forward; 6-foot-9; Richmond, Virginia; attended Collegiate School in Richmond; former 247Sports four-star recruit.

Career Stats

20.2 minutes per game, 5.7 points per game, 1.1 assists per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 0.4 blocks per game, 44.2 FG%, 34.5 3P%, 66.7 FT%.

2020-21 Review

Beran’s sophomore season was underwhelming, as he saw statistical dips in rebounds and three-point percentage. Beran only averaged 2.8 rebounds a contest in 2021 after hauling in 3.4 per game as a freshman. He shot more three-pointers in the shortened season than he did as a first-year, but his conversion rate on those deep tries dropped from 40 percent to under 35 percent. Beran took more threes than twos last season, and, despite his tall frame, his lack of strength made scoring opportunities when attacking the cup hard to come by. On the occasions when Beran did make it deep into the paint, he shot 60.5% at the rim.

After starting 18 games in his first year as a Wildcat, Beran had a slightly-lesser 17 starts last season. His offensive role diminished in 2021, as he was involved in just 14.6% of offensive possessions — down from 16.8% — which ranked seventh on the team out of the nine-man rotation that Collins used for most of the season.

Strengths

At 6-foot-9, Beran can be an excellent shot-blocker in the paint. He has been second on the team in blocks for each of his two seasons and, despite only averaging 0.4 blocks per game, Beran ranked third on the team in block percentage, an estimate of the percentage of opponent two-point field goal attempts blocked by the player while he was on the floor.

Beran led the team in three-point percentage his freshman year and, while he did regress last season, he shot 2.4 three-pointers a game and had multiple games with three triples. Despite regressing from his freshman year, Beran ranked fourth on the team with a 55.6 true shooting percentage. Last year, 80% of his two-point shots and all of his three-pointers were assisted on, and, in what could be a guard-centric offense, Beran will remain a catch-and-shoot option.

Weaknesses

Beran occasionally shows flashes of the high ceiling the ‘Cats expected when the four-star recruit came to Evanston, but so far, he has yet to find his footing. Last year, he only scored over five points in six of NU’s conference games, and on a team that struggled offensively as a typical starter, he lacked significant impact. The Northwestern offense was in desperate need of a spark last year, and Beran didn’t step up.

Expectations

With the loss of Miller Kopp, who took 21% of NU’s shots while he was on the court, there will be more offensive opportunities this year than there have been in the past for Beran. He will likely start alongside Pete Nance, Chase Audige, Ryan Young and Boo Buie, and while several of those players are more desired offensive options, Beran may have more chances than usually if opponents zero in on their coverage of other starters. Going into his junior year, Beran still has time to grow, and the promise and potential he showed in high school and at times during his freshman season are enough to keep hope alive. If Northwestern wants to be somewhat competitive this year, they’ll need someone to step up. Robbie Beran could be that guy.