– Interview with Billy Baron: “We have a chance to win the MAAC tournament”

Billy Baron is the leader of the Canisius Golden Griffins. He is the younger brother of Jimmy Baron, who is actually playing for Virtus Roma. Billy started his college basketball career with the Virginia Cavaliers. After his first season, he left for Rhode Island. Jim Baron Sr., Billy’s father, was Rams’ coach at the time, but he was fired in April 2012. So Billy decided to follow his father and to play his last two seasons in NCAA at Canisius College. Baron has improved his shooting percentage year-by-year and he is one of the nation’s top scorers. He is averaging 24.6 points-per-game, 5.1 rebounds-per-game and 4.9 assists-per-game, shooting 46.9% from the field, 42.8% from beyond the arc and 89.5% from the free-throw line. Baron is a finalist for the 2014 Bob Cousy Award, the annual honor for the top point guards in college basketball. Golden Griffins have the second best record in MAAC (12-4). Baron scored game winners from the three-point line against Elon and Rider.

Canisius had a couple of thrilling games so far. What do you like the most about your team? Do you think Golden Griffins have what it takes to win the MAAC Tournament?

“I believe we have a chance to win the MAAC tournament. That is our main goal, and the great thing about my team is everyone understands that. We have great relationships and everyone knows their role on the team”.

You play almost 40 minutes every night  and you are an incredible player down the stretch. How difficult is to be ready for every single minute of a game? How important are self-confidence and the trust from your teammates in order to score clutch threes?

“ When you are the captain of your team, you have to always be ready and lead your team to a win. You have to be willing to take the last shot and understand that everything is on you as the leader. Self confidence is huge, and my teammates give that to me”.

On Sunday, you had a new career-high with 40 points against Siena. Which is the best game you played so far? And which is the best backcourt defense in your Conference?

“Best game I have played was against Marist when I had 38. The best defense is Manhattan. They play a matchup zone and are a very good trapping team”.

Your father is a former point-guard and he is Canisius current head coach; your brother Jimmy is a professional basketball player. Did you also consider other sports during your childhood or basketball was the obvious choice?

“I did not consider playing anything else besides basketball”.

Jimmy is an outstanding three-point shooter in the Italian League. Difficult question: who is the best shooter in the family?

“Jimmy is the better shooter, he is one of the best in the world. Virtus Roma has a great one, and they should feel lucky to have them on their team”.

Speaking about your position, you are the point guard of the Golden Griffins. What do you do in order to balance your playmaking ability and your scoring ability? How do you understand which of these two qualities the team needs most in the different moments of the game?

“I like to start games off passing to my teammates and setting them up. I am responsible for getting them into their flow, it is important to do so, so the defense has to focus on them also which will free me up to make plays for myself. I do not like to take bad shots”.

Photo credits: Canisius/Tom Wolf


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