Believe it or not, we’re just about a month away from basketball season. That’s right, both men’s and women’s basketball games are right around the corner. To kick off our coverage of the 2021-22 coverage of the men’s team, we will preview each player on Northwestern’s roster. Up first is guard Boo Buie, a junior from New York.
Who he is
Junior; point guard; 6-foot-2; 180 pounds; Albany, NY; younger brother of assistant men’s basketball coach Talor Battle
25.8 minutes per game; 10.3 points per game; 3.2 assists; 2.2 rebounds; .374 FG%; .323 3P%; .754 FT%
To say that Buie had an up and down sophomore season would probably be understatement. He started out red hot, including a 30-point performance at Welsh-Ryan Arena against then-No. 4 Michigan State. Overall, Buie was a large contributor to Northwestern’s 3-0 start to B1G conference play in 2020, averaging over 18 PPG and shooting an astonishing 67% from distance to open the season.
Very quickly, however, both Buie and the Wildcats entered a dreadful slump. In the following four contests, all against ranked opponents, Buie struggled mightily, shooting 2-for-29 from the field and recording just seven points. It seemed as if with Buie’s success went Northwestern’s success, as he posted double-digit scoring efforts just three times during the Wildcats’ 13-game losing streak in the middle of the season. To finish the regular season however, Buie averaged 17 PPG and the ‘Cats won three in a row.
It’s no question that Buie is a talented scorer. His three-point shooting has improved significantly during his time at Northwestern, from 28% his freshman year up to 36% last season. He can and will launch it from anywhere, and when he’s hot, it’s a sight to see. As previously mentioned, his scoring outbursts against teams like Michigan State almost singlehandedly led the ‘Cats to victory.
Buie has also showcased he can pass effectively and take on the bulk of ball-handling responsibilities. In his second season in Evanston, Buie raised his assist average to 4.0 per game from 2.4 per game his freshman year, while also committing fewer turnovers overall. He’s shown improvement offensively over his two years in Evanston.
It’s already well documented that Buie is very much a streaky shooter. Northwestern’s offense seems to click when Buie is scoring at a high clip, but things can get ugly when he cools off. As previously mentioned, it showed for a large part of the 2020-2021 season. He can hang 30 on an opponent ranked in the top five one day and then be invisible in the next game. For Buie to take the next step and potentially play at the All-B1G level that he’s capable of, he needs to become more consistent.
With Buie now in his third year, it’s very likely that Chris Collins and Co. will be asking a lot from him this season. The Wildcats lost their number two scorer from last season, Miller Kopp, to Indiana in the transfer portal, so Buie will have to provide more consistent offensively for the ‘Cats to be competitive. There is no question he will be tested, with 10 of Northwestern’s first 11 conference games scheduled against teams who reached the NCAA Tournament last season. In what will be his third season as a member of this team, and second as the floor general, it will be expected for Buie to lead this veteran roster to a more consistent campaign, accompanied hopefully by more well-earned, hard-fought Big Ten wins.