Men’s Basketball: Price: What next season entails for Buie, Audige, Beran and the program


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Seniors forward Robbie Beran and guard Roy Dixon III hyped after a Cats bucket. The two have possibly played their final contest in the purple and white in NU’s loss Saturday to UCLA.

Lawrence Price, Senior Staffer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There aren’t many words that can describe an end to a season, especially after the historic one that Northwestern had. Not to mention, the passionate and hard fought loss that sealed it versus No. 2 UCLA. 

As the season progressed, the purple pride only increased. Welsh-Ryan Arena went from a plethora of empty seats in its exhibition against Quincy to begin the season, to multiple sold out crowds and students camping outside the arena hours prior to the last.

My beat writing teammates, senior staffer Alex Cervantes, senior staffer Aayusyha Agarwal and I saw it first hand. Traveling to games in and outside of the state while the team wrote an unprecedented story, one that we couldn’t imagine. Even though you can’t cry because it’s over, it’s difficult to stay in the present and remember that it happened — you want to look towards the future hoping for more excitement.

And although it’s been less than 24 hours since the final buzzer sounded, one wonders what the program’s next steps entail outside of coach Chris Collins’ press conference comment of resting up.

With senior guard Boo Buie, redshirt senior guard Chase Audige and senior forward Robbie Beran all possibly playing their final game in the purple-and-white, there’s still a chance the trio could return to Evanston for one more year. All three have one more year of eligibility to play.

Outside of graduate forward Tydus Verhoeven, each Cats’ player has the opportunity to return next season. Of course nothing is promised, but seeing how far NU went this season and how successful it was, a return of each core player could lead to another trip to the NCAA Tournament, and possibly a deeper run. 

Yes, Collins and the program wasn’t able to hold onto the magic in 2017, as NU struck out in returning to the big dance the following year. However, with that experience under his belt, another six-year hiatus is much less expected.

This expectation and the opportunity to keep their core players together is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pros of the debate. Sophomore guard Julian Roper II was injured for the majority of NU’s rise to stardom — not touching floor since the start of February. Not only did he provide support on the defensive end, but he showed moments of extensive shot-making. By next season, Roper II and first-year forward Luke Hunger should be healed from their injuries and ready for action.

Sophomore guard Brooks Barnhizer’s game grew and meshed as the season continued, producing seven straight double-digit scoring games prior to the Round of 32. While the offseason will allow Barnhizer to only improve, the same could be said for first-year forward Nick Martinelli, who replaced Roper II in the rotation. 

Yet, a good side always comes with a bad side — the cons. There are reasons why the trio wouldn’t want to return. 

Audige’s 2022-23 campaign was his best season yet in the purple and white, no question. This especially pertains to his dominance on the defensive end, highlighted by his Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honor, that could allow him to garner interest on the professional level. In a game where the number of offensively skilled players are continually increasing, NBA organizations would love to have a lengthy, defensively-sound guard like Audige on their roster.

When it comes to Buie, what else does Agent 0 need to prove in Evanston? The guard’s All-Big Ten First Team selection and 17.3 points per game emphasize that the only reasonable answers for him returning to lead NU back to the same place and further. This could mean a Big Ten Championship, Sweet 16 appearance and more. 

With Beran continually seeing a decline in his minutes as the season progressed, he may want to use his last year at another program. This could be for multiple reasons: an uptick in minutes, the opportunity of being utilized in a system differently or moving closer to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Former NU guard Anthony Gaines, a New York native, did exactly that following the 2020-21 season by transferring to Siena College in New York.

If the trio decide not to come back, with Verhoeven and senior guard Roy Dixon III presumably done too, the Cats will have two scholarship spots open for next season. On top of three first-years that will be stepping on campus, the two spots give Collins an opportunity to venture into the transfer portal to fill the voids Buie, Audige and Beran left.

Following the loss to UCLA, the backcourt duo said that their one-year left of eligibility wasn’t at the forefront of their thoughts after the loss. Instead, it will be a conversation they will have down the road. 

And I agree, the idea of having this dialogue not even a day after the season concluded is crazy and nearly insensitive. But from now until a decision is made, these looming questions will continue to linger.              

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