Billy Baron joins dad at Canisius

Jim Baron’s best recruiting tactic: Come to Canisius or you’re grounded.

Reports Thursday night confirmed speculation that’s been going around since Day One of the Jim Baron regime: his son Billy will be joining the Griffs.

Baron, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard,  averaged 13.0 points per game last year with Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 as a sophomore, though he was only eligible to play half of the year. Baron began his college career in the Atlantic Coast Conference with Virginia, though he mostly sat on the bench before leaving the school midway through the year, hence why he had to sit out half of last year.

CBS had the scoop straight from Billy Baron himself (though further research showed we could have known this two weeks ago).

Jim Baron was asked if his son would join him during his introductory Canisius press conference.

“He’s finishing up and doing what he needs to do there,” Baron said after an awkward silence. “That’s the most important thing now.”

Billy Baron gave his word to stay at URI. “This is my home,” he told the Providence Journal. “This is where I want to be.”

Canisius is now deep at the guard position and may even see battles for playing time, with Baron and last year’s leading scorer Harold Washington at point guard while Alshwan Hymes and Isaac Sosa will compete for time at shooting guard.

Both Freddy Asprilla and Jordan Heath are expected to start, with Chris Manhertz, a captain a year ago, in line to be the fifth starter. Josiah Heath and Kevin Bleeker could see less of the floor than last year, and it remains to be seen how Reggie Groves will fit into the mix.

This is assuming Baron will be eligible to play. He’d need to be granted a waiver from the NCAA, though there is precedent for kids to play the year immediately after their parents are fired (Google Trey Zeigler).

Fathers coaching their sons in college basketball is nothing new. Canisius played a home-and-home with Northwestern State (Natichotes, La.) two years ago, whose coach Mike McConathy brought both his sons through the program.

He was asked after the game what it was like to have his sons play for him:

It’s interesting. I’ve coached both of them, I had two [sons] on the team last year. It’s a great joy. I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the opportunity, because you know what, as parents, we a lot of times don’t get to spend time with our own kids — we’re spending time with everybody else’s kids — but I’ve got to spend time with my own kids up until they’re 22, 23 years old. And I’m blessed for that. The Good Lord’s been good to be to allow me to be able to do that.

It’s challenging at times, because I’m sure people will find faults. But you know, if you come work hard every day, you deserve the same opportunity as the guy who’s not related to me.

Did I pass on that one? That’s a hard question to answer.

— Mike McConathy, Northwestern State

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