Hall of Fame forward Rick Barry joined me on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s Play.it. With his son Canyon in the Sweet 16 for the Florida Gators at Madison Square Garden, it was only right to hear from his proud father, a fellow underhanded free throw shooter. Like father, like son.
Rick Barry on his son’s success in his final season (1:22):
“Well I’m proudest of mostly what he’s done away from the game of basketball that’s just a bonus. My son as you mentioned is a very brilliant young man. He was the division one men’s basketball academic first-team All-American of the year. That’s the second time he’s gotten that award. He was a second-team as a sophomore and my wife and my son are the only mother, son combination who were two-time academic All-American’s of the year first-team in division one, so that’s a cool thing and I’m proudest of him for that. He was SEC sixth man of the year. He played minimal minutes and was the second leading scorer on the team, pretty close behind the first guy and he can actually play pretty well people have only seen the tip of the iceberg with my son.
I’m hoping that some NBA team is gonna give him an opportunity because I think it would be a great find and a steal for them to give my son the minimum salary for a chance to develop in the NBA. When he’s not in the lab and has a chance to develop his game, there’s no telling how good he might be. People haven’t seen his athleticism. He’s played a lot of the season with two sprained ankles and he can play, and when I talk about my son I talk about him as a basketball player, not as a father obviously as a father I’d be up on a pedestal with a loudspeaker and a microphone talking about him, but as a basketball person he can play and has a chance to be a nice player.”
Rick Barry on if it was difficult for his son to go to Florida knowing he would get less minutes (6:11):
“Well he didn’t know that. I’m sure it was a disappointment, but again he’s the ultimate team player and the kind of player that he is he accepted the role that was given to him, but he went there more than just because of basketball. If that was the case I would’ve sent him to Mike Dunleavy, my teammate down in Tulane and he would’ve run the offense through him and scored a ton of points, but he wanted to go someplace where he had a chance to go to the NCAA tournament and get a great education and go into his nuclear engineering and get his masters and I just found out his midterm this year he got a 94 on his test.
My son is really smart and so it was about the education, Florida had a nuclear reactor so they had the education part of it and he had a chance to go to the NCAA tournament and he’s at the Sweet 16 not many players have the opportunity to do that and he has a chance to go beyond that so from that standpoint its worked out well for him. Has he sacrificed from his basketball part of it? Yeah it’s been a big sacrifice for him. People haven’t seen what he can do, but he’s enjoying the success of the team.”
Barry on if he sees a bright NBA future for his son (7:26):
“Yes I think my son can be a very good NBA basketball player especially with the rosters going to 17 and stats should not determine. We look at the stats but what would he do if he was playing 32 minutes a game and was the focal point of the offense when he’s scoring 12 now and at one point before the season…and he actually hurt his ankle, he was averaging 15 points a game and was the leading scorer on the team coming off the bench in minimal minutes. He’s led the team in scoring more times than anyone else on this team so yeah you can’t just look at the stats itself you gotta watch the kid play and see what he can do and like I said, people haven’t seen his athleticism. He was hampered with the ankle stuff.
My son’s got a 38 to 40 inch vertical. He can play and he’s got the ability to handle the ball, pass the ball, and do those things, but he doesn’t get a chance to do that because of the way this team plays. The ball is in the hands of the point guard and the two guard. He’s playing backup and Devin Robinson is playing well so he’s making the most of the opportunity he’s given and being the ultimate team player, which I think if I’m a scout I’m gonna say, hey here’s a kid that nobody has shown what he can do as a guy coming off the bench, what if he goes to an NBA team and an active roster he’s gonna be coming off the bench. They know he’s smart, knows how to play the game and to me that’s the kind of kid I’d want to have on my team. You don’t want all guys that are thinking they’re gonna go out there and be stars. you want guys that are going to go out there and be willing to do the job and be the ultimate team player and that’s what my son would do.”
Barry on what LaVar Ball is doing (13:16):
“I think he’s vicariously trying to live through his son and he’s really getting a little carried away with it. He is doing his son a bit of a disservice. His son is a good enough player, whose play can speak for itself. I do know for a fact that there may be some teams who would say there are some other kids out there who are close to this. I don’t wanna have this kid here and deal with his father, they may do that I do know for a fact that one of my great teammates Butch Beard was traded away because of the fact that his ex-wife was someone who drove the general manager crazy and he didn’t wanna deal with her. I’m serious this is dead truth so it could conceivably have an impact on who decides to get Ball because nobody wants to deal with his father saying the things he says, which is so outrageous to sit here and say that he’s better than Steph Curry. I mean come on, it’s just foolish what he’s doing he just needs to sit back, support his son, enjoy what his son is doing and let his play do the talking and he can talk about stuff and say I really think my son is a nice player.
“I mean I’m telling you stuff about my son as a basketball person who knows the game, not just as a father bragging about his son, but the truth is I think my son can be a very nice NBA player and somebody would be very happy to get him and he’s going to develop into a really nice player if given the opportunity. But, I’m not gonna stand here and tell you that he’s better than this person and that person. I’m not gonna do that that’s crazy. Even his younger brother it has more impact on him, it’s not the right thing to do, then he gets into a thing then Charles Barkley and him are getting at it and saying things I mean come on. It’s foolish. I highly recommend to him as a father who has been through this more times than he has. Back off.”
Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s Play.it, iTunes, and Spotify. It’s a weekly sports show mixed in with a bit of entertainment and interviews as well every week. He occasionally hosts SportsTalk1240 on WGBB in Long Island, and formerly hosted Brown and Scoop, Brown and Troupe, and on ESPN Radio NH. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan may finally be paying off.