Barry shows he's more than dad's son

February 01, 1991|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

ATLANTA -- Jon Barry says all the right words about how this season isn't about redemption or about trying to prove all of them, meaning big-time college coaches, wrong.

"This is a strange business," said Barry, a 6-foot-5 junior shooting guard at Georgia Tech. "You just have to be in the right place at the right time."

For now, Barry, the third-leading scorer for Tech, and the 11th-best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, averaging 16.8 points, is in the right place and this is the right time.

"It feels good to do some good things," said Barry. "It's not a rub-it-in type of thing to other people.

"They have their opinions of my game. If they didn't think I could help them out, then so be it. But I know what I can do and I'm just glad I got the shot."

Not long ago, things were certainly wrong for Barry.

He received just one scholarship offer out of DeLaSalle High School in Concord, Calif., where he was named Most Valuable Player of the Golden Bay Athletic League and selected to a number of all-San Francisco area teams.

Maybe the fact Barry was only 6 feet 2 and weighed a slight 150 pounds were the significant factors in the big-time schools passing him over.

Barry persevered, though, landing a scholarship at the University of the Pacific for his freshman year, where he averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists.

But that wasn't quite the right fit, either, so he transferred to

Paris Junior College in Texas last year, where his game rounded out.

He posted a 17.1 scoring average, along with 3.6 rebounds, three assists and three steals, but still no one took a flier on him.

"I put up pretty good numbers, but I was never pursued by anybody here [the ACC] or the Big East or anything," said Barry.

That is until Barry's father ran into Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins at last season's Final Four and suggested he might want to take a look at his son.

Ask any coach about the insights of a father about his son's talents and the response is likely to be unprintable.

But when the father is a Hall of Fame player like Rick Barry, Jon's dad, the opinion carries a bit more weight.

"My dad told him I could play and if he needed a two-guard to come and take a look," said Barry.

"I don't think coach knew what he was going to get. He didn't see enough of me to know that I could play. I thank coach for giving me the opportunity to come here. He didn't know a lot about me and he went out on a limb for me."

Barry believes part of his difficulty in attracting attention was the trait among his brothers, including Scooter, who played on Kansas' national championship team in 1987, to blossom later physically than most.

"That's the way we are. My whole family is late maturers. It happened three years with Scooter," said Barry.

"It happened with me. I'm finally feeling that maturity. My brother's a senior in high school and he's reaping the benefits and seeing that the Barry family can play. It's just a matter of time."

On the subject of his famous father, Barry, who is the leading percentage backcourt shooter in the ACC, does as little as possible to foster the obvious comparison, praising his dad's achievements, but hoping to blaze his own trail.

"It's something you have to deal with," said Barry. "I'm proud of what my father's done. But it comes with the territory and I don't have any comparisons.

"I don't want to compare anything he's done with anything I might do. I'd love to accomplish the things he did. That would be great. But I do what I do, and I just try harder."

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