Billy Baron (AP)Billy Baron's loyalty to his father may be the lucky break Canisius needs to get back into contention in the MAAC in the near future.
Baron, who left Rhode Island two months after his dad was fired as head coach, will follow Jim Baron to Canisius, according to a report from CBSSports.com. Baron previously left Virginia midway through his freshman season to join his dad at Rhode Island.
The addition of a deadly perimeter shooter who averaged 13.0 points per game last season is a huge boost for a Canisius program that fired Tom Parrotta after a disastrous 5-25 year in 2011-12. The 6-foot-2 guard, who will have two years eligibility remaining, also received interest from the likes of Providence and Purdue.
There's a pretty good chance Baron will be able to obtain a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play immediately next season rather than sit out the customary one year the way most transfers do. Trey Zeigler already gained the right to play immediately at Pittsburgh next season after he transferred there when Central Michigan fired his father.
If Baron indeed becomes eligible next season, Canisius can make a significant leap up the MAAC standings.
The Golden Griffins would be very deep at guard with Baron, UCF transfer Isaac Sosa and last year's two leading scorers, Harold Washington and Alshwan Hymes, all seeking playing time. Kansas State transfer Freddy Asprilla and promising sophomore-to-be Jordan Heath will anchor the frontcourt.
That group may not have the firepower to unseat MAAC preseason favorites Loyola and Manhattan or reloading Iona, but it's definitely more than strong enough to make major progress. And for a Canisius program that hasn't provided fans much to smile about of late, that's finally reason for optimism.