Northwestern’s college basketball season is over, but before we officially close the book on the 2021-22 campaign and start looking ahead to next year, it’s time to review each Wildcat’s individual performance at the course of the last five months. To begin, we start with Julian Roper II, freshman winger from Detroit, Michigan.
After coming off the bench for the first half of the season, Roper found his place in the starting lineup by carving out his own niche – a high-intensity, scrappy player who could add to the team’s defense what no one else could. else could not. The freshman was placed primarily as a winger or third guard alongside Boo Buie and Chase Audige, providing defensive compliment to his two scoring-focused teammates. Roper has become one of the Wildcats’ best two-way players and has become a key part for Northwestern over the last game.
The following numbers come from KenPom.com.
While his stats alone weren’t particularly impressive, Roper’s impact extended far beyond the scoresheet. The freshman averaged four points per game while adding 3.4 rebounds and one assist to the night’s total. Defensively, Roper was definitely more important to the ‘Cats. His 25 interceptions were second on the team behind Audige, and his 14 blocks were good for third most, behind only 6-foot-10 Pete Nance and 6-foot-9 Robbie Beran. Standing at just 6ft 3in himself, that last number is certainly significant.
As far as filming goes, Roper wasn’t particularly asked to do too much. Buie, Audige and Nance took the lead as primary scorers, allowing Roper to slot into a three-and-D type role. of his total shot selection came from beyond the arc. By far, the freshman shot a respectable 33.3% on just under two shots per game. That was slightly higher than his overall field goal percentage at 34.2%.
The following statistics are taken from hoop-math.com
Although most of his buckets come from inside the paint, it’s clear that Roper also wants to be a certified marksman. He has relatively high percentages on assisted two-point jumpers and assisted three-point jumpers, at 50 and 83.3 percent respectively. That means he’s often in a decent position to receive the ball in those positions, even if he’s not hitting shots exactly yet, which is a good stat for a first-year player to see.
Obviously, as with his overall stats, Roper’s numbers aren’t among the highest on the team. That being said, he seems to be hanging out at the end of the usual rotation, with numbers similar to Ryan Greer – an appropriate slot given that the freshman slowly found his way into the top five as the season was underway.
For anyone watching the games, it was easy to see the kind of positive impact Roper had on Northwestern’s offense and defense. Although he didn’t contribute much to the score, Roper was an energetic player who brought athleticism and excitement to the Wildcats. The tower made attacking smoother and his bustle rewarded him with 32 offensive boards. Only center Ryan Young had more. Those rebounds that extended Northwestern’s possessions were key to the team’s ability to stay in close games late.
That exact intensity translated to the defensive side, where Roper had active hands on the ball and used great anticipation to jump passing lanes and collect interceptions. His athleticism allowed him to face a variety of different sized players, and he was able to guard his opponents with great success. Game in and game out, Roper was able to effectively meet any challenge defensively and improve the Wildcats’ chances of getting a turnover.
It’s worth noting that the freshman wasn’t particularly demanding to do much on offense, but when he was, he wasn’t very effective on any attempts that weren’t catch-and-shoot threes. Roper’s defensive prowess and hustle created plenty of chances, but he struggled to shoot a consistent clip from the field when he had the ball in his hands. The athleticism is certainly there, but Roper could see a lot of improvement in the coming years in his ball handling and shooting ability. Most of his buckets came from the paint, but there was certainly room for improvement in the area of conversion on open layups and inside passes.
It also comes with not being a primary ball handler, but Roper sometimes struggled to create while the ball was in his hands. On the occasions when he had the ball in transition, he often waited for his teammates to catch it and pass it instead of grabbing an open advantage. The freshman did a great job of finding his teammates and passing to them, but could have benefited from being less passive on the offensive end.
For Roper, it’s confidence and repetition that will boost his game next season. His passivity in attack hasn’t gone unnoticed, as noted above, and with more confidence through experience, Roper could become one of the team’s best distributors. That confidence will also play a role in his goalscoring game, hopefully propelling him to take open shots on the attacking side without waiting to pass it on to a teammate instead. Overall, he can internalize that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes when it’s for the benefit of the team. With extra reps in the jumper and more three-point ranges, Roper could become more of an all-around offensive threat.
Julian Roper has all the intangible assets you could want in a basketball player. He’s a good-sized winger, makes quick plays, is ambitious on defense, has great athleticism and fits in well with the rest of the team. His outstanding defense is a good sign of things to come, and his attacking development over the next few years will be the most important factor in whether or not he can make the leap from quality role player to quality starter. foreground. If this season was any sign, the future looks bright for number five.