McCallums, Detroit prevail father-son clash

DETROIT – Billy Baron read an article online last spring about Ray McCallum Jr., who, after passing up offers from UCLA, Florida and Arizona, was making a trip to the NCAA Tournament with his Detroit Titans and their coach, Ray Sr. Intrigued, Baron logged onto Facebook and sent McCallum a message looking for advice.

Billy Baron guarded by Ray McCallum.

Billy Baron guarded by Ray McCallum.

Baron transferred from Virginia to Rhode Island midway through his freshman year to try to accomplish the same thing with his father, Rams coach Jim Baron. When Jim was fired last March and hired a month later by Canisius, Billy had a choice: Go play for a school with national exposure in a power conference, or go down a step and play for a mid-major to stay with his dad. So he asked the player who would know best.

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Detroit’s court is named after its former coach, Dick Vitale.

“I asked him what it was like to win a championship with his father and go to the NCAA Tournament,” Billy Baron said this week. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s the reason why I’m here [at Canisius], to go to the NCAA Tournament. Only reason.”

McCallum was sympathetic for Baron’s situation – and offered the encouragement he needed to hear.

“He was in a tough situation,” McCallum said of Baron. “I just told him that you can’t go wrong with your dad. That’s what I did, and he always has my best interests in him, and I felt like his father would have the same in him. I told him go wherever your heart says to go. I don’t think you can go wrong staying home and playing for your dad.”

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Are we there yet? Griffs’ ninth win has signs things are moving in right direction

griffsalcorntipBilly Baron stood with the ball near midcourt Thursday night at the Koessler Athletic Center as the final eight seconds ticked off Canisius’ 87-74 defeat of Alcorn State when something unusual happened.

For the first time in a long time, fans stood up before the final horn sounded the end of a Canisius basketball game and applauded their team.

They cheered for Isaac Sosa, who couldn’t have been smoother on his way to 21 points. They cheered for Billy Baron, the first true quarterbacking point guard the Griffs have had in recent memory, who controls the tempo of the entire game.

They cheered for a team that could coast to victory on a night when second-leading scorer Harold Washington, bothered by a heel injury, didn’t even have to attempt a shot in his 20 minutes of play. They cheered for a coach who used timeouts to switch his defense not out of desperation but for strategy – and for how magnificently it worked, moving Jim Baron two wins shy of 400 on his career. Continue reading