Skip to content
College Sports
Link copied to clipboard

Canyon Barry, son of Rick, is making the most of his NCAA time at Florida

NEW YORK - A year ago, Canyon Barry was playing against the likes of Drexel in the Colonial Athletic Association for the College of Charleston.

NEW YORK - A year ago, Canyon Barry was playing against the likes of Drexel in the Colonial Athletic Association for the College of Charleston.

Now he is two wins away from competing in the Final Four with the University of Florida.

Fourth-seeded Florida (26-8) will meet No. 8 Wisconsin (27-9) in the Eastern Regional Sweet 16 on Friday at Madison Square Garden. The game is estimated to begin at 10 p.m. and will follow Baylor vs. South Carolina.

Barry is a graduate student at Florida who decided to transfer after last season.

"I transferred partly for basketball reasons and a lot for academic reasons," said the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry.

Hold the laughter on the claim about academics. The 6-foot-6 Barry is enrolled in graduate studies in nuclear engineering.

"I have a big test Monday. We'll see how that goes, but I am more focused on the game right now," Barry said after the Gators' workout Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

He has excelled on and off the court for Florida. Barry is averaging 11.8 points despite having started just one game and was named the SEC's sixth man of the year. He also earned the CoSIDA academic all-American of the year award, and was named a first-team academic all-American.

Barry is the team's leading free-throw shooter (88 percent) and set a Florida record with 42 consecutive free throws made.

In that aspect, he's a chip off the old block, shooting underhanded free throws the way his father did. The younger Barry has been shooting underhanded since his junior year in high school. His father was a career 89.3 percent free-throw shooter in his NBA and ABA careers combined.

"Logic would dictate if you have one of the greatest free-throw shooters of all time as a personal free-throw coach, you should give it a shot," Barry said. "I kind of fell in love with it. I love the science behind it because it is a more repeatable motion."

He said enjoyed attending the College of Charleston but is having a blast at Florida.

"It's been a lot of fun playing in the SEC, playing great teams in front of big-time crowds in a big-time atmosphere," he said.

Barry hasn't hit his stride in the tournament, averaging 7.0 points and having attempted eight total shots in the Gators' two wins. But he has had a major impact on the team's success.

"I think that the underappreciated value that we all are more familiar with now is his ability to draw fouls and then, of course, he converts at the foul line at a really high rate," Florida coach Mike White said. "I am really glad that he chose . . . Florida."

So is 6-8 Florida junior Devin Robinson, who averages 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds.

"Overall, Canyon is a great teammate," Robinson said. "When things get tough he says, 'Come on, guys, bring it together.' He lifts us up."

Barry said he hoped to continue playing beyond this season. He plans to compete at the Portsmouth Invitational for aspiring NBA candidates.

"Hopefully I will do well at the Portsmouth Invitational and see if I get [NBA] predraft workouts and summer league and, hopefully, I will be able to go overseas if that doesn't work out," Barry aid.

He'd first like to go to Glendale, Ariz., which is the site of the Final Four.

"I feel I have gotten a great education at Florida and fulfilled my goal of getting to the NCAA tournament," he said. "To make a run in the NCAAs is awesome."