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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Men’s Basketball: The Buie who’d be king: Boo Buie snaps Northwestern’s career scoring record

Anna Watson/The Daily Northwestern
Graduate student guard Boo Buie braces for a jumper against Michigan Thursday. Buie broke Northwestern’s all-time scoring record with 16 points versus the Wolverines.

Long before Northwestern’s Thursday night Michigan matchup, Welsh-Ryan Arena’s near-capacity crowd knew graduate student guard Boo Buie’s ascension to the program’s all-time throne was all but certain.

“It was a similar thought process in terms of the pressure sense,” Buie said. “I just had a lot of confidence going into the game. My teammates and my coaches have a lot of faith in me, and I know it’s not all on me.”

Inside the renovated house he helped build, Buie entered the game just four points away from the Wildcats’ all-time scoring record of 2,038 points. After a quickfire layup, Buie braced for a fateful bucket that’d either tie the historic tally or carry him over the peak.

Although he’d have to wait almost 10 minutes before his next basket, Buie’s collision with history emblematized the versatile arsenal that made him one of the conference’s most feared competitors. 

As he received a feed from sophomore guard Justin Mullins, ‘Agent Zero’ tested his range just a few feet away from Wolverines coach Juwan Howard. Adjacent to a legend of the game, Buie’s storied and improbable tale took an immortal turn Thursday night.

From the second he released the downtown effort, there’d be no doubt. On a picture perfect trajectory, the ball found nothing but net. John Shurna’s program highmark that stood for 12 years now belonged to the white-headbanded warrior. 

“At the time, I couldn’t really celebrate, because we had dug ourselves in that hole,” Buie said. “Later, toward the end of the game, I really started to feel all of the emotions. Within the game, I was just focused on trying to win.”

An Albany native, Buie moved 200-some miles from home to play high school hoops at Maine’s Gould Academy.

Just a stone’s throw from the New Hampshire border, Buie stuffed stat sheets and garnered significant individual and team accolades, but few Power-Five coaches took notice of his talents. To NU’s immense fortune, coach Chris Collins stumbled upon the point guard at a California AAU tournament.

“His growth as a young man, as a leader, as a teammate, as a friend, it’s been an unbelievable development,” Collins said. “Stories like this are why a lot of us like to coach in college.”

The rest was history — but it was far from linear. The ’Cats were perennial bottom feeders during Buie’s first three seasons in purple and white. Buie suffered a season-ending injury during his sophomore year, and Collins’ once stable seat became scorching hot after Athletic Director Derrick Gragg publicly admonished the team’s performance in 2022. 

However, Buie’s belief in his program and his coach never wavered. He paved unparalleled paths and soared to unfathomable heights. 

“Forget about the records — he’s given us a cool-factor,” Collins said, donning a white headband in Buie’s honor. “His impact is going to be long-standing because of not only what he’s done and how he’s impacted our winning but what his presence has meant here the last couple of years.”

After leading NU to its first March Madness appearance since 2017 last year, Buie tested the professional waters, declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft and maintaining his collegiate eligibility. For many, this decision would have signified an imminent departure, but Buie announced his return in early May.

As he’s proven time and again during his five-year tenure, Buie is no run-of-the-mill performer — a fact Collins is especially grateful for. With the new era of NIL and the transfer portal, loyalty to a single program throughout a four-to-five-year career is a dime a dozen, Collins said.

“When you stay the course and stick with your coach … you look back, and you’re grateful for all these times — good and bad,” Collins said. “You don’t see that as much in college basketball anymore, which I don’t like. I love the development part, and for Boo to stay here for five years — to go through some tough times … I’ll always be indebted to him.”

While Buie and Collins both echoed a bittersweet sentiment with the All-American caliber program centerpiece’s final campaign drawing to a close, there remains plenty for the ’Cats to accomplish.

With Buie pouring in 16 points, tallying seven assists and swiping two steals in Thursday’s 76-62 win over Michigan, all the program’s postseason aspirations are within reach.

“The coolest thing that happened with the record being broken — when I went into the locker room — is that they all had the headbands … (that) really made me feel loved, and that was special,” Buie said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n 

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