Florida senior Canyon Barry learned it all from his dad, Rick.
With such a wealth of knowledge available daily from the NBA Hall of Famer, who could blame him?
Rick led the NCAA in scoring when he attended the University of Miami (Florida) and didn’t slow down at all once he got to the NBA. He was taken second overall by the San Francisco Warriors in the 1965 NBA Draft and immediately made an impact. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1966 and led the league in scoring two seasons later in 1967. He also had a long-tenured career in the ABA.
Through his professional career, Rick averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists. He won an NBA championship in 1975 with the Warriors and was named the MVP.
But most stunning about his resume is his 90 percent free-throw shooting. He did it in quite an unorthodox style: underhanded.
Now, his specialty technique has been handed down to his youngest son, Canyon.
Here’s what you need to know about Canyon and Rick:
1. Canyon Learned to Shoot Free Throws Underhand From his Father
With his father coining the infamous underhanded shooting style professionally, it was a no-brainer for Canyon to adopt it.
As a team during the 2016-17 season, the Gators have a 72.5 percent free-throw percentage, ranked a dismal 99th in the nation. But Canyon has done his part to improve that.
Earlier this season, he made 42-straight free throws — a Florida record — and he’s currently shooting 88 percent from the line.
Rick learned how to shoot underhanded from his dad and taught all of his own kids the style. But Canyon was the only one who ultimately decided to stick with it. He made it permanent when he was a junior at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado.
It worked well for Canyon and kept with it when he went to college.
In an interview with The Miami Herald, Rick said he got picked on a lot for shooting free throws that way, but he didn’t mind. He said he’d rather have a better chance at making the shot.
When I was a kid, underhanded is how girls shot, so I did endure a lot of teasing, but it’s different now. Free throws are the only part of basketball where you can be completely selfish and help your team. Why wouldn’t you want to shoot at the highest percentage possible? Why would you rather people make fun of you for being a poor free-throw shooter? Why would you want to be such a liability at the end of the game that coaches take you out? I don’t understand it.
The same applied to Canyon when he first came around to the style. He told The Miami Herald about how he got ripped on by opposing fans at games constantly.
I think the funniest time was in high school. I missed a free throw and they started shouting, ‘You’re a-dop-ted! You’re a-dop-ted!” That was actually a pretty funny one. I have to give them some credit for that. I think that’s part of the fun.
2. Canyon Transferred to Florida from Charleston
With one year of collegiate eligibility left, Barry decided to transfer to Florida in May 2016.
Before that, he played three seasons for the College of Charleston, redshirting as a freshman.
In those three years, Barry averaged 12.8 points and shot 77 percent from the free-throw line. He took advantage of the NCAA’s transfer rule and headed to Gainesville to play for coach Mike White.
Barry said in a statement that he opted to suit up for the Gators because of White’s coaching style.
I really like Coach White, his integrity, his honesty with me, and his style of play. He and I both feel that I can make an immediate contribution on the court and help the team chase the goals of winning an SEC Championship and getting to the NCAA tournament next season.
3. Canyon Is the Youngest of Rick’s 6 Kids
If his family’s extensive background in basketball is any indication, Canyon has a lot to live up to.
Rick has four sons — all basketball players — with his first wife, Pam (Scooter, Jon, Brent and Drew), and a daughter (Shannon). Canyon is the son of Lynn Barry, Rick’s third wife.
Scooter won an NCAA championship when he played for Kansas (1998) and went on to have a long career playing overseas. Jon was drafted to the NBA out of UCLA and played for a slew of NBA teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. He’s now a TV analyst for ESPN and ABC.
Brent found success in the NBA, too. He went to Oregon State and was drafted 15th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. He played many teams in the league, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Seattle SuperSonics and winning two championships with the San Antonio Spurs.
Drew went to Georgia Tech and was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent time in the league with various teams and also overseas.
4. Canyon Is Studying Nuclear Engineering at Florida
Another reason why Barry chose to transfer to Florida was because of academics.
At Cheyenne Mountain, he was the valedictorian of his graduating class and continued that path at Charleston. When made the decision to transfer, the physics major had a 4.0 grade-point average.
Barry’s a two-time Academic All-American and was named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Academic Team each of the three seasons. He graduated from the school and is currently attending graduate school at Florida for nuclear engineering.
He said in an interview that academic studies are something that are extremely important to him.
I transferred partly for basketball reasons and a lot for academic reasons. 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.
5. His Mother Played Basketball at William & Mary
The basketball roots in the Barry family don’t end with Rick and his sons. His third wife, Lynn Norenberg-Barry was the assistant executive director of USA Women’s Basketball and also a former adviser for the WNBA.
She played basketball for the College of William and Mary from 1977-1981 and is regarded as one of the best women’s basketball players in program history. She was the all-time leading scorer and holds 10 other records. Because of her success on the court and in the classroom, she was a two-time Academic All-American.
Norenberg had her No. 22 jersey retired by the school in 2002 and a special dinner was held in her honor.