SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced Friday night that Canisius senior guard Billy Baron has been named the 2014 Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches. Baron received the award at the MAAC’s annual Postseason Awards Show, which was held in the in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Baron is the third Canisius player to win the MAAC’s Player of the Year title, joining previous MAAC Players of the Year Craig Wise (1995) and Darrell Barley (1996).
“It is an honor and a privilege to be named the MAAC Player of the Year,” Baron said. “I’m also very honored to have earned the trust from my teammates to make decision with the ball throughout the year. This coaching staff has done a great job in helping me make strides as a player and stay consistent. I honestly believe this award goes to my teammates as much as it goes to me. To win this award, you have to win games. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are now. This is a really good league. There are a lot of guys that can play and every night is a battle. I’m proud to be a part of helping turn the Canisius men’s basketball program around.”
Baron finished the regular season by averaging 24.4 points, 5.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Golden Griffins, which earned the No. 4 seed in this weekend’s MAAC Championship with a 20-11 overall record and a 14-6 mark in conference action. Baron, who ranks third nationally in scoring average, is just the second player in school history to score more than 750 total points in a season, and he is the program’s single-season record holder for made 3-point field goals, as he has knocked down 98 shots from behind the arc this season. His 161 total assists makes him the third player in school history to have 150-plus assists in back-to-back seasons, and his 5.2 assists per game average ranks second in the conference.
A finalist for the 2014 Bob Cousy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top Division I point guard, Baron scored in double-figures 30 times during 31 regular season games this year, highlighted by his career-high 40 points in the team’s triple-overtime win at Siena Feb. 16. Baron was good for 20 or more points 24 times this year and he had 30-plus points in a game on eight occasions. He also dished out five or more assists 18 times during his senior year, highlighted by his career-high 13 helpers in a home win over Siena Dec. 8.
The men’s basketball team will play No. 5 seed Siena on Saturday, March 8 in the MAAC Championship quarterfinal round in the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., with tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the audio call can be heard on AM-1400 in Buffalo and through the Golden Griffin Broadcast Network at GoGriffs.com.