Canyon Barry Continues to Pursue NBA Dreams, But 3x3 May Be His Next Ticket
Canyon Barry could be doing any number of other things.
Not only does he have a lot of connections through being a member of one of basketball’s most well-known families, he is intelligent, too. After all, you need to be in order to not only get a physics degree, but then top it off with a master’s in nuclear engineering.
Yet here Barry is, plugging away in the G League with the Iowa Wolves, still with a hope of making the NBA.
He has another dream as well: playing in the Olympic Games.
This week, he takes another step toward that goal. Barry is one of 16 men invited by USA Basketball to Chicago this week to participate in a two-day training camp to determine the four-player team for the 2020 FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament from March 18-22 in Bengaluru, India. A top-three finish at that tournament would earn the United States a spot in the Tokyo Games this summer, as 3x3 basketball makes its Olympic debut.
“A chance to help America qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 3x3 would be awesome,” said Barry, 26. “And obviously, the end goal and a dream of mine is to become an Olympian and compete for the country in Tokyo.”
While the competition for the four spots on the 3x3 team will be tough, Barry does have a few things working for him. The 6-foot-6 guard helped the U.S. win the FIBA 3x3 World Cup last summer after capturing the 2019 Red Bull USA Basketball 3x3 Nationals with Quest.
Barry will see several familiar faces at this week’s training camp. When not playing in the G-League, he also suits up for the Princeton team that is one of the top two American teams on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. Princeton’s chief rival domestically is New York Harlem, which is fourth in the World Tour rankings, one notch ahead of Princeton. Both teams had multiple players selected for the camp, which should raise the intensity another level.
“We've got a lot of really good players at this event that know the game really well and have played a lot of 3x3,” Barry said. “The Princeton guys have played together for many years. Obviously, I played with the World Cup team. We’ve got good chemistry, and the Harlem team has been together, so it'll be interesting to see if they kind of want to keep the teams together, if they're just going to switch everything up and whatever and put everyone with everyone. I'm sure we're going to play a bunch of scrimmages. I trust the guys over at USA Basketball. They're so good at their jobs, and I think they'll field the team that gives us the best chance to win.”
While basketball has been the calling card of the Barry family — dad Rick is a Naismith Hall of Famer, mom Lynn played collegiately and is a former USA Basketball executive and four half siblings have hooped — Canyon made sure not to just focus on sports. He earned a physics degree from the College of Charleston, before finishing his college career as a grad transfer at Florida, where he finished his master’s in nuclear engineering.
“My mom had always really stressed to me the importance of getting a good education,” Barry said. “You never know how long your basketball career is going to last. You always got to have a good fallback plan. I was really fortunate to have her push me academically to be as successful as possible. I always had a passion for the math and science subjects, and I had great teachers growing up in high school.”
While the numbers might not add up for Barry to make it to the NBA — he is averaging 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17.2 minutes over 13 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ G League affiliate — he knows he can make a little bit of family history if he does well this week.
“The Olympics kind of has a special place in my heart,” said Barry, noting his mom’s heavy involvement with the Women’s National Team and watching those Olympic teams practice, “and it would be cool for me, because my family's so basketball-driven, and it seems like they've kind of accomplished everything you can in the basketball world with you know NBA championships, playing overseas, everyone getting college scholarships.
“But to be the first Barry to play in the Olympics would be obviously a huge honor and just to be an Olympian and be able to represent your country is I think one of the coolest things you could possibly do in sports. It's definitely my goal moving forward just try to continue to be the best 3x3 player I can and give USA Basketball every reason they can pick me.”