As the college basketball season approaches, Northwestern’s men’s basketball team will look for its veterans to lead the way after the offseason saw loads of talent leave Evanston. Today, we’ll cover the ‘Cats starting point guard, senior Boo Buie, who looks to lead the ‘Cats offensively.
Who is he?
Senior; guard, 6-foot-2; 180 pounds; from Albany, N.Y.; No. 2 ranked prospect out of Maine coming out of high school
Fun Fact: According to former Skidmore guard, Aldin Medunjanin, Buie would come to Skidmore open runs at the age of 15 and keep up with college kids at a really good Division III program. That’s the kind of talent Buie has.
27.3 minutes per game; 11.8 points per game; 2.3 rebounds; 3.6 assists; 0.7 steals per game; 38.4 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 76.6 FT%.
The 2021-2022 season saw Buie grow into a larger role for the ‘Cats. Not only did he see an increase in playing time, but after averaging 10.3 points per game over his first two seasons, Buie put up 14.1 points per game while leading the ‘Cats with 4.3 assists per game last year. Displaying flashes of brilliance, Buie erupted for 27 points against Nebraska in February, 22 points versus Georgia and 23 against Providence.
Yet, Buie’s ability to score the basketball is something Northwestern lived and died by last year. In games where the senior shot poorly and made bad decisions, Northwestern tended to lose. And in games where he could do no wrong, the ‘Cats found success.
Buie also gained some confidence with the deep ball last year, as he let it fly 68 more times than the season prior. Yet his three-point percentage took a slight hit, dropping from 36% to 34.1% as more shots from beyond the arc led to less efficient play.
Buie is a walking bucket and his belief in his abilities is what makes him special. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He’s got great handles, and consistently uses his dribble to extend plays, create shots and get to the rim. Although he definitely prefers to create off the dribble, Buie can catch and shoot the basketball too.
He’s got range too. When he gets going, his confidence allows him to take shots from way downtown that he has the ability to hit. His game inside the paint is also very good. He’s got great touch on floaters and knows how to control his body through the air to finish in traffic. His ability to drive into the lane is a nice complement to his shooting.
Every great scorer has to be a good free throw shooter and Buie can earn his points from the line. Although he has the potential to shoot at a slightly higher clip, Buie’s free throw percentage of 79.6% from was good for the team lead and ranked fifth in the Big Ten last year.
At the end of the day, Buie’s got a score-first mentality that makes him want to attack the basket and shoot the three-ball.
On the other hand, Buie definitely has some chinks in his armor. Although his swagger allows him to put Northwestern on his back, his confidence can be a slippery slope. When he’s not on his game his first instinct is to keep attacking rather than look for his teammates. Although I love the “shooters got to shoot mentality,” sometimes if you don’t have it one night you have to know when to move the ball elsewhere.
Plus, Buie is not the best defender. With his size, length and quick first step you’d expect him to be solid defensively. Yet last season, coach Chris Collins opted to play Chase Audige and Julian Roper II next to Buie a lot to cover up his defensive struggles.
With Northwestern losing two critical big men this offseason as Pete Nance transferred to North Carolina and Ryan Young left for Duke, the pressure is on for Buie to carry this team.
Although he’ll never be the best defender, Buie will get the volume offensively to be a top ten scorer in the Big Ten. The offense will run through him, and depending on his development as a decision maker, the offense will either find a way to put up points or it’ll struggle.
Also watch Buie to look for his teammates more this season as teams will attempt to shut him down defensively as Northwestern’s primary scoring option. If Buie can get his teammates involved offensively, that’s how the Chris Collins led ‘Cats will succeed.