Men’s Basketball MVP: Boo Buie
By Michael Barthelemy
Point guard Boo Buie was a flash of electricity for Northwestern basketball in 2021-2022. As the second option for a team desperate for scoring, Buie brought that force.
Before digging into Buie, it’s important to acknowledge that the actual answer here is Pete Nance. The senior forward led the team in points, rebounds, three-point percentage and blocks. He did it all for Northwestern and was their most consistent and dynamic player. The only problem is that he is no longer a Wildcat.
Earlier this summer, Nance announced he is taking his talents to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With that reason, I chose to eliminate him from contention for team MVP.
The same goes for Ryan Young, who served as a valuable backup center off the bench who provided scoring and size. He’s headed to Duke, which boots him from the conversation as well.
That leaves Boo Buie, one of the most critical components ofNorthwestern basketball since he stepped on campus. The Albany, New York native was second on the team at 14.1 points per game and was the most consistent scoring guard.
He improved his numbers in just about every statistical category last season and showed up in each of Northwestern’s wins. In an overtime win against Rutgers, the guard dropped 18 points, including six points in overtime to propel the ‘Cats to victory.
In a 59-51 slugfest against Indiana, he again put up 18 and hit the shot to give Northwestern a three possession lead with 90 seconds on the clock.
Buie’s game always centered around scoring, but what ultimately made the guard so valuable was his further emergence as a facilitator. He averaged 4.3 assists, which ranked seventh in the Big Ten. Having a consistent ball-handler that was able to create shots for himself and players such as Nance and Young opened consistent offensive options.
For the rising senior, his Achilles’ heel was consistency. When Buie was on, it usually meant Northwestern was in the game. The issue was that there weren’t enough games in which Buie was on.
His shooting numbers, while improved, still clocked in at a below average 39.7 percent and 34.1 percent from three. There were 10 conference games in which Buie shot below 35 percent on the game. In those contests, Northwestern was 2-8.
Buie’s ability to score in bunches was the reason the guard was one of the most valuable players on the roster. He worked as the missing piece for a team that lacked an important second-option to add to Pete Nance. Now, given he will have to play a larger role this upcoming season, Buie must elevate his game to consistently string together high scoring totals on respectable efficiency.