Early Monday, Florida landed one of the prizes of the 2016 graduate transfer market in college basketball, as College of Charleston guard Canyon Barry chose the Gators over Miami, Kansas, and other teams, as first reported by ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Charleston grad transfer Canyon Barry told ESPN he will head to Florida. HUGE get for the Gators.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 9, 2016
Barry is the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, and is best known for carrying on his father's underhanded free throw shooting as a collegian — a tactic that allowed him to make better than 72 percent of his free throws in each of his three years with the Cougars.
But he's more than just a scion of a famous family: Barry the younger is listed at 6'6" and 210 pounds, and made 37.6 percent of his threes while averaging 12.7 points per game as a redshirt sophomore in 2014-15, then put up 19.7 points per game before injuries derailed his 2015-16 season. He was considered one of the best graduate transfers available this offseason.
The biggest knock on Barry is that he's inefficient, posting an Offensive Rating under 100 — typically a baseline for decent offensive players, an Offensive Rating of 100 means a team scores a point per possession with that player on the court — in each of his three years with the Cougars, and topping out at a 98.0 in his junior season. That may be more related to the team's horrific offenses over the last three years than to Barry himself, though: All three collegiate teams he's played on have ranked outside the nation's top 300 in offensive efficiency, per KenPom, and Barry's had some fine individual games (31 points at Davidson, 20 at Miami) without the caliber of help he will have in Florida's rotation.
Barry may well come off the bench for the Gators, after all, unless he can win the starting small forward job that Devin Robinson and Justin Leon would seem to have the upper hand on locking down. KeVaughn Allen is Florida's presumed starter at shooting guard, and Robinson and Leon have better length than Barry, which makes both more appealing cogs in Mike White's pressing defense, so I see Barry as something of a super-sub in the backcourt who can help out as a small forward.
And if he can make even 35 percent of his threes while playing adequate defense, Barry would be an upgrade on the players Florida could use in that role in 2015-16, including outgoing transfers Brandone Francis-Ramirez and DeVon Walker. Allen became an efficient offensive player over the course of the season, and Chris Chiozza posted an Offensive Rating not far from Barry's (99.6), but Francis-Ramirez (66.9) and Walker (72.2) were beyond liabilities on offense, combining to score nine points, all by Francis-Ramirez, after February began.
The floor for what Barry should contribute is rather low, and the ceiling might be very high, given how well he scored prior to the shoulder injury that scuttled his last year in Charleston — but even that floor is substantially higher than the level of play the Gators got from those two transferring players. He fits what Florida needed from this transfer market beautifully, and it's fair, I think, to hope that he'll be a key part of this team next season.
He also gives Florida a win over Miami on the recruiting trail, one made more significant by the fact that Rick Barry is, of course, Miami's greatest basketball-playing alumnus. And Barry, whose GPA was a perfect 4.0 at the College of Charleston as he got a degree in physics with a math minor, should probably do his part to keep Florida's APR perfect — especially because the physics degree was actually sort of a compromise, given that he was originally double-majoring in physics and computer science.
Now, if he could convince some Gators to shoot underhanded free throws, too...