Former Gator Canyon Barry eager learn, follow familiar path to NBA

UF graduate transfer Canyon Barry has adjusted quickly and become a leader and go-to scorer for the Gators. Like father, like son.

Canyon Barry is used to having heads turn after he attempts a free throw.

A shot patented by his father, Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Barry attempts his free throws underhanded.

This routine catches attention and it was no different the first time it was showcased during a recent New York Knicks ’ summer league practice.

“It’s fun because a lot of them haven’t seen it before,” Canyon Barry said. “The first time you shoot it, everyone in the gym kind of looks around and thinks, ‘What did that guy do?’”

The undrafted rookie out of the University of Florida shot better than 88 percent from the free-throw line his senior season with the Gators while also setting a school record for most consecutive free throws made with 42.

“At the end of the day a free throw is a free throw,” Barry said. “It’s 15 feet away and a 10-foot rim with the same ball. You still step to the line and knock them in. If it goes in, you can’t say anything.”

Although Barry has four brothers who have played professional basketball, he is the only one to carry on his father’s tradition.

While it was easy to adjust to shooting free throws at the pro level, Barry said there was a learning curve for him when it came to the level of competition during the Orlando Pro Summer League tournament.

“Just the strength, speed and ability of all the players,” Barry said. “In college, there are one or two guys maybe on a roster that has a chance to play professionally and here everyone on the team is a professional player.”

Barry is quickly adapting to the level of play in the pros because he now only has one thing to focus on since wrapping up his career at Florida: basketball.

He juggled more than the typical basketball player at UF, studying nuclear engineering. When his basketball career ends, he hopes to work with nuclear power or radiation detection, either for the government or in the private sector. Barry was an Eagle Scout and valedictorian of his high school class.

His summer focusing on developing a pro basketball career marks the first time in years he has devoted most of this time to one thing.“It’s been great,” Barry said. “I don’t have to worry about school, homework or tests and no classes. You just get to focus on basketball and get in the gym every day. Lift, workout and just get better [at] your craft.”With family members all around him who have played in the NBA , Barry knows it will be a challenge to realize his goal and play in the league.“Obviously the first goal is to try and make an NBA roster,” Barry said. “If that doesn’t happen, then go overseas and just try to get better every year. There are always areas that you can continue to get better at to try and […]