A few blog posts below this one, when posing some questions about MAAC men's basketball and providing (at least trying to) some answers, we speculated that the team with the best chance of being a positive surprise this coming season would be Canisius.
We made that assertion based not only on the eligibility for 2012-13 of three quality transfers, but there was also a strong inkling that the Golden Griffins would be adding yet a fourth high-level player to their program.
That became official earlier this week when the school announced that Billy Baron, the son of newly hired head coach Jim Baron, would be following his dad from Rhode Island to the Buffalo school.
Baron, who began his playing career at Virginia before transferring to Rhode Island, was also granted a waiver by the NCAA which allows the 6-foot-2 point guard to become immediately eligible. He has two seasons of playing eligibility left.
After becoming eligible at Rhode Island last season he played 20 games there (14 starts). He averaged 13.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
He is likely to move into the starting lineup as point guard for Canisius and be another of the key parts of a new cast within the program.
Other transfers becoming eligible for the coming season are 6-10, 280-pound senior center Freddie Asprilla, who averaged 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game at Kansas State in the 2010-11 season; Isaac Sosa, a 6-3 senior guard who averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game at Central Florida in the 2010-11 season; and Jordan Heath, a 6-10, 225-pound junior center who averaged 14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in 2010-11 at Robert Weslyan, an NAIA program.
The Griffs return their top two scorers from a year ago, guards senior Harold Washington (17.0 ppg.) and junior Alshwan Hymes (15.4), along with last season's top rebounder, 6-6 junior forward Chris Manhertz (7.0 points, 7.4 rebounds).
Canisius only won five games in the 2011-12 season, its fewest in a season since it joined the MAAC in 1989. But, if the incoming talent can mesh with some solid returnees the program could produce one of the the best positive turnarounds not only within the conference but within all of Division I nationally.