Billy Baron to play for Detroit Pistons in NBA Summer League

By Nick Veronica

Former Canisius star Billy Baron will play in the NBA Summer League for the second year in a row, this season suiting up with the Detroit Pistons squad.

The news was first reported by Lithuanian site, an outlet that covers Baron’s European team Lietuvos Rytas.

The Canisius-Pistons connections are deep. Head coach Stan Van Gundy is former Canisius assistant. Assistant general manager Jeff Nix played at Canisius from 1976-79 and was later an assistant coach. Perhaps most importantly, Pistons general manager Jeff Bower coached one season at Marist and was impressed with Baron’s game.

Here’s what Bower told me about Baron’s NBA outlook in January 2014 during Baron’s senior season:

I think he’s terrific as a player now. I think the way he plays the game are things that a lot of teams will really like. I never slot a guy at this time of the year, honestly, because you don’t know the draft and how many people are going to be involved in it.

But I know this: He’s a winner. He’s got skills, he’s got size, he’s got deep shooting ability, he’s got playmaking ability, and he is a competitor. And I know those are all qualities that every NBA team would value and do their research and see. When it’s all said and done, I would expect him to be rated or ranked ahead of a lot of guys. I think he’s the type of kid that helps your team and is gonna have the poise to compete and help a team.

It’s too early, honestly. The people that are talking now are usually guys that aren’t involved in decision making, [guys] that are saying where people are going. But he would be a guy that a lot of people are excited about and want to dig very deep to find out about, in my opinion.

Summer League games begin next month. Here’s a game-by-game look at how Baron did last summer with the Chicago Bulls.

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Stan Van Gundy at #canisius

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Marist basketball coach resigns, likely headed back to pros

By Nick Veronica

Former Marist coach Jeff Bower.

Former Marist coach Jeff Bower.

Marist men’s basketball coach Jeff Bower resigned after one season on the job, the school announced Monday.

Bower, a former NBA head coach and general manager, is reportedly leaving to become the general manger of the Detroit Pistons.

Marist went 12-19 overall and 9-11 in the MAAC last season, finishing sixth in the conference before being upset by 11th-seeded Niagara in the play-in round of the conference tournament.

Marist returns swingman Chavaughn Lewis (17.3 ppg), who was second-team all-conference, and Khallid Hart (14.7 ppg), who was the MAAC Rookie of the Year. Center Adam Kemp is the only loss to graduation.

Bower, for what it’s worth, is a fan of Billy Baron’s game. That could be worth keeping an eye on as Baron hopes to land on an NBA roster. He has already worked out for three NBA teams in advance of this month’s draft.

Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy is a former Canisius assistant.

Related: Baron has third pre-draft workout