clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Northwestern men’s basketball 2022-2023 player review: Robbie Beran

If we have seen the last of No. 31, he embodied the best of Northwestern.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 10 Big Ten Tournament - Penn State v Northwestern Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As we continue to look back on Northwestern’s improbable run to the round of 32, today we look at a cornerstone of the program over the last four years—the man with the highest arcing shot, senior Robbie Beran.


Stats via

Beran’s senior campaign was his best, statistically, of his entire collegiate career. The Virginia native averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 boards per game — both career highs in his four years in Evanston. No. 31 scored a career-high 20 points twice against Chicago State and Prairie View A&M; he also connected on four triples against the Panthers, the most Beran had ever made in a single game. On the defensive side, Beran was a Tasmanian Devil for the Wildcats. Typically drawing the responsibility of guarding the opponent's big man, the 6-foot-9 stretch forward held his own on the low block, recording 24 rejections and 18 steals. Beran’s size did bite him though, as he averaged two fouls a game.

Although he scored more than he ever had at Northwestern, Beran’s shot percentage was down from previous seasons. The senior shot 36.9% from the field and 34.5% from three — both the lowest of his career. However, he did make 84.8% of his free throws, a significant increase from past seasons.

Shot Distribution:

Stats are taken from

While not typical numbers you see from a power forward, Beran’s stretch four, or even sometimes stretch five, style left him beyond the arc for most of the ‘Cats’ offensive sets. If No. 31 thought he had a decent look at the rim, he was pulling up. While the senior shot the worst he ever had from three, he struggled even more in the midrange, only hitting 20% of his shots from inside the arc (not including inside the paint). While he was originally expected to be Northwestern’s third offensive option behind Boo Buie and Chase Audige going into the season, his shooting woes unfortunately did not allow the Virginian to blossom into the offensive threat that Chris Collins had hoped for.

The Good

Even though Beran did not shoot as well as he hoped, the senior was an integral piece to this team's success, both this season and holistically. Starting every game in 2022-23, Beran took on the role of the team's center when the Wildcats went to their smaller lineup and took bashings in the post against physical Big Ten opponents, but held his own and improved at playing through contact. When Collins talked about the team buying into being a great defensive team, it was seniors like Beran who helped create the mindset and identity for the ‘Cats’ season.

Furthermore, even when he was not knocking down shots consistently, Beran always found a way to get a bucket when needed. Whether it was a clutch three or an electrifying dunk, Beran always gave the Wildcats a lift. In a game against Illinois, he threw down a massive jam that brought Welsh-Ryan to its feet, setting the tone for NU’s first win over the Illini since 2019. In a season guided by its seniors, Beran’s ability to get a basket went a long way.

The Bad

As mentioned already in this piece, Beran’s inconsistency shooting the ball was the biggest negative of his season. There were games like Minnesota, where Beran shot 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from deep, but also games like Indiana, where he shot 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. He was held scoreless in Lincoln, only taking three shots, and just three days later, he dropped 14 against the Golden Gophers. As the ‘Cats searched all season for a third option, Beran showed flashes that he could fit that role, but never consistently scored enough to earn that spot. This was seen down the stretch as the hot-handed Brooks Barnhizer took minutes away from Beran, who was not doing enough offensively to aid Buie and Audige.

The Bottom Line

Beran’s Northwestern career presumably comes to an end after four years of being an indispensable part of the program and helping bring it to new heights (pending the usage of an extra Covid year). In his final season, he was a solid role player, but never developed into the third option that the ‘Cats could constantly rely on. While good on the defensive end, his shooting woes spurred what could have been his breakout year.

When the story of this season is told in future years, the senior class will always be at the forefront of the tale. In addition to being a talented player on the court, Beran was also a phenomenal leader and teammate. He was always vocal in the huddle or sitting next to someone on the bench, and it was obvious he earned the respect of his teammates. He played hard and left everything he could out on the floor for his entire tenure in Evanston. If this was the last we see of No. 31 in purple and white, all that is left to say is that he is what makes an underdog story like Northwestern’s so enjoyable to watch.

One final thing, we here at Inside NU have a special place in our hearts for another Beran. So Bob Beran, we will miss you just as much.