Next up on the Northwestern men’s basketball player reviews is the center of the program in Boo Buie. The senior guard had the best season of his career and was one of the main reasons Northwestern had the success they had. Let’s dive into Buie’s legendary season in Evanston.
Stats via sports-reference.com:
Statistically, Buie had the best season of his collegiate career. He set career highs in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game; along with this, his field goal percentage also eclipsed 40% for the first time. Buie was obviously one of the main scorers for the Wildcats, and made contributions from all over the floor. This includes the game against Illinois in Champaign, where Buie was unstoppable in the first half and propelled Northwestern to as much as an 18 point lead.
There’s no doubt Buie can score. He scored 20 or more points in 14 games, and there were only three where he was in single figures. Even with a higher usage rate as Northwestern’s primary option, he contributed.
The stats show what most know: Buie was Northwestern’s best scorer this season.
Stats are taken from hoop-math.com:
Hoopmath shows how vital Buie was to this team. He attempted the most field goals, had one of the higher effective field goal percentages and obviously was a lethal scorer. Though there were players with higher field goal percentages, you have to look at the amount of shots taken. Buie took 49 more attempts than any other player on the roster, Audige being second.
There were so many positives for Buie in what is presumed to be his final season in Evanston. To start off, Buie was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, which is given to the best point guard in the country. This comes behind his best season ever and leading Northwestern to its second ever NCAA tournament.
Buie became the prime scorer this season with the departure of Pete Nance, and he took advantage. There were plenty of games where he could not be stopped — at Illinois, both Indiana games and vs. Boise State, to name a few — and whether it was from deep or inside, he was scoring. Take the early-season game against Purdue Fort Wayne, where Buie hit seven three pointers to contribute to a Wildcats victory.
The senior’s passing also needs to be highlighted, as it took a major step forward this season. As the year went on and teams realized how much of a scoring threat he could be, Buie became more of a distributor and got his assists numbers up. He became more and more well rounded as the season went on, fit for one of the nation’s best point guards.
It’s hard to put together a list of negatives for someone who just had the season Buie had, but it mainly came down to consistency. There were some games of halves where Buie was not the scorer that Northwestern counted on him to be; he could not hit shots and Northwestern had to look for another option. This led to Northwestern falling behind in some games, such as at Maryland or vs UCLA, due to Buie not producing like usual.
It all comes down to consistency with Buie. When he’s hitting his shots, he’s one of the top scorers, but when he’s not, he’s not. But, he does know how to get going as the game goes on.
The one negative has to be consistency, and that’s fixable.
The Bottom Line
There’s so much to say about Boo Buie and what he brought to the Northwestern basketball program. He was the center of a team that will be remembered forever due to his scoring, assists and personality that contributed to one of the best stories in recent memory.
Buie showed up in crucial moments: he dropped 26 against No. 1 Purdue, hit a near-buzzer beater against Indiana and there were so many more. He will always be remembered as a Northwestern basketball legend.
Northwestern basketball might have changed forever, and a lot of that is because of Agent Zero.