Men’s Basketball: Chase Audige to forego final year of eligibility, keep name in 2023 NBA draft


Daily file photo by Esther Lim

Redshirt senior guard Chase Audige dribbles the ball. After helping lead Northwestern back to the NCAA Tournament, Audige announced Wednesday that he will not be returning to Evanston next season, keeping his name in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Lawrence Price, Sports Editor

It’s official, he’s going pro.

After a historic season of watching guards senior Boo Buie and redshirt senior Chase Audige, Northwestern fans will have to put hopes for a ‘last dance’ in 2023-24 to rest.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Wednesday that Audige will keep his name in the 2023 NBA Draft and won’t return to Evanston in the fall.

Audige, who entered the NBA draft process in April, kept Wildcat fans on the edge of their seats as they awaited his decision. With the withdrawal deadline approaching in the next few hours, Audige’s announcement opens up a void in coach Chris Collins’ lineup that hasn’t been vacant in years.

The Coram, New York native racked up 81 starts of his 82-game tenure for NU throughout his three years in Evanston — putting it all together in his last year. Audige put up career highs in 2022-23, dropping an average of 14.1 points, 2.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He earned co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-Big Ten honors.

With Buie, a team leader, announcing his return earlier this month, Collins will look for another comrade to command the ship, as he attempts to lead the Cats back to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history.

Although Audige’s decision might make this goal more difficult, NU does return six of its top nine scores from last season, highlighted by Buie, junior guard Ty Berry and sophomore guard Brooks Barnhizer.

On top of both Berry and Barnhizer’s numbers on the rise with Audige’s departure, Collins has also added three transfers — two being guards — that hope to fill the backcourt void. Princeton guard Ryan Langborg (12.7 points per game), Denver guard Justin Mullins (9.8 points and 1.5 steals per game), and Liberty forward Blake Preston (6.7 points per game) will likely be a big part of this effort. Incoming freshmen guards Jordan Clayton and Parker Strauss, and forward Blake Barkley round out the current Cats’ bunch.

Audige’s departure also means a final scholarship is still up for the grabs. As Collins and the program begin the search for someone they find fitting for it, the Wednesday news doesn’t mean the trip back to March Madness is on hold — the route may just look a little different.

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