As the October weeks go by, we are inching closer to college basketball’s return, and therefore the return of Chris Collins and his squad. Most people need a refresher on who will be donning the purple and white this year. So accordingly, we’ll continue to preview Northwestern’s men’s basketball team by discussing now upperclassman Ty Berry.
Who is he?
Junior; guard; 6-foot-2; 190 pounds; from Newton, Kan.; attended high school in Wichita at Sunrise Christian Academy prior to NU.
18.9 minutes per game; 6.5 points per game; 1.9 rebounds; 1.0 assists; 0.7 steals per game; 39.2 FG%, 38.1 3P%, 63.6 FT%.
After a promising freshman campaign, 2021-22 was a rollercoaster for Berry. After starting the first 16 games of the season, Berry was benched following his 0-point game against Wisconsin. He was replaced in the starting five by Julian Roper II but saw a similar amount of action with the second unit, which was due mainly to his offensive production being quite volatile.
Berry hit double-digits nine times last year but failed to score more than three points in ten contests. He shot an effective 38.1% on 4.5 threes a game, but really didn’t provide much else offensively outside of shooting, with Berry not showing as many strides as a distributor as many ‘Cats fans would’ve hoped. His usage rate actually dropped from his opening season, although it did increase during his time with the second unit.
Overall, like many shooters, Berry's inefficiencies made his playing time sporadic, which was amplified by Roper II’s emergence. Despite this, Berry proved that when he was hot, there were few more dangers in the Big Ten from behind the arc.
After an effective freshman season as a spot-up shooter, Berry’s three-point percentage increased, while taking nearly two more threes a game. Additionally, he improved from the free throw line after a rocky freshman season, although he still shot under 70% from the charity stripe. Lastly, and arguably the most promising part of Berry’s year, was that he proved to be effective off the bench, showing the ability to provide a spark offensively whether he gets ten minutes of action or 30.
There’s no way around it, Berry’s sophomore year was relatively disappointing. Granted, this was largely due to the expectations after his promising freshman campaign, but Berry failed to expand his game in the way ‘Cats fans had hoped. Per 40 minutes, his stats were nearly identical in the past two seasons, besides a drop off in his percentage from inside the arc of nearly 10%. The most concerning of these statistics was his lack of field goal attempts, with Berry shooting only 17 times per 100 possessions. Considering Berry’s main contribution comes as a scorer, his lack of aggressiveness offensively was detrimental to Northwestern many times this past season.
With Berry showing a willingness and effectiveness with the second unit last season, it seems likely that he’ll have a sixth-man role to begin 2022-23. The biggest question mark regarding Berry is if he’ll serve as the primary playmaker when Boo Buie isn’t in the game, or if that role will be given to Brooks Barnhizer. Berry should shoot a higher volume of shots with the second unit, as he’ll likely be the most dangerous scorer outside of the starters. If he does come off the bench, Northwestern’s second unit will only go as far as Berry takes them, as he will need to be a vocal point for the ‘Cats offensively if they hope to be more successful than a year ago.