Barons Leading Canisius Resurgence

28 Jan

Playing for your father can be a curse and a blessing. You can be an extension of the coach on the floor but you could also be held to higher standards, making expectations insurmountable. Doug McDermott is certainly showing it to be a blessing to play and star for his father Gregg at Creighton. Doug is currently 2nd in the country in scoring at 24.3 points per game for the top-20 ranked Bluejays.  There is another father-son duo doing big things, at Canisius College.

Head Coach Jim Baron has his Golden Griffins tied atop the MAAC at 8-2 led by his senior guard and son Billy who is right behind McDermott in scoring at 24.2.  The younger Baron followed in his older brother’s footsteps by playing for his father.  Jim Baron the younger played for his father at Rhode Island and Billy decided to do the same after playing in just eight games at Virginia.

After one year at Virginia Billy Baron decided to join his father at Rhode Island.  During the 2011-12 season he averaged over 13 points a game for a team that won just seven games.  After the season the long-time Rams coach was let go.  He was then hired at Canisius to lead the Golden Griffins.  Billy wanted to play for his dad so he left Rhode Island to transfer to Canisius.  He was granted a waiver to play right away due to the fact that his father was no longer his coach.

In his first year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Baron averaged over 17 points, four rebounds and five assists.  Canisius won 20 games and made it to the quarterfinals of the Tournament.  The arrival of the Barons saw a 15-win improvement for Canisius.

This season the Barons have bigger goals in mind.  Baron, now a senior guard for the Griffins leads the team in points (24.2), assists (4.9), steals (1.6) and free throw percentage (91%).  They currently sit in a first-place tie with Iona at 8-2 but have plenty of competition behind them with three other teams sitting just two games behind the top two teams.  A lot can happen with the remaining 10 conference games, but Canisius is looking to position themselves to do something they haven’t done in a long time, make the NCAA Tournament.

Canisius has made four NCAA Tournaments, but just one since 1996.  The Golden Griffins were a staple in the early years of the tournament with three straight appearances from 1955-57.   The one-game appearance in 1996 ended nearly a 40-year drought, now the Barons are hoping to end another 18-year drought on the backs of a pair of Barons, coach Jim and star guard Billy.


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