With the season over, Jeff Capel and staff have been reaching out to several quality graduate transfers as they search for a reliable three-point shooter. One of those players has a unique connection to the Pitt basketball program: Dartmouth College point guard Brendan Barry (6-foot-2 inches, 180 pounds). Berry has been a three-year starter for the Big Green. He was selected as the A.D. “Dolly” Stark Award winner as the Big Green’s MVP his junior year and led the Ivy League in minutes played (35:31), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.20) and 3-point percentage (.445).
“I have been in the transfer portal for five and half months. I have visited Wake Forest and I’ve been in contact with Pitt, Temple and Iowa State. Notre Dame has called as well,” said Barry. “I’ve had a lot of schools contact and speak with me. I’m just trying to pick the best spot for me.”
With the nation is currently on lock down due to the coronavirus, Barry was asked if the pandemic has greatly interfered with his timeline and visits. “Yes, it has. I think the NCAA said there was no in-person recruiting until at least the 15th of April. Clearly no one can take visits or anything like that,” he said. “So the (coronavirus) has effected things but I still receive calls and texts. It’s kind of tough with no visits, but otherwise it’s been fine.”
Barry has played point guard his entire career, but he believes he’s a versatile player. “I’ve played mostly at the one (point guard) for my whole career. I see myself as a point guard, but I feel like I’m pretty adaptable,” he said. “A lot of people see me as a shooter as well. I could run off screens as a two, play more of a combo guard. I think I have a good enough grasp of the game and IQ to where I could adapt to playing the two, or the one more. I feel like I’m just pretty adaptable in that sense.”
Pitt associate head coach Tim O’Toole was the first to reach out to Barry and they have a unique connection. “Tim O’Toole is actually my godfather. My dad played at Fairfield University with him back in the 80s,” he said. “They were actually roommates, so that’s one of my dad’s very good friends and just happens to be my godfather too, so it’s pretty funny.”
“He told me that they just lost a guard, Trey McGowens. He entered the portal. He just said they need a guard and obviously he knows me well. He just reached out to me and kind of gauged my interest in Pitt. I now must do my research, watch film and see if I fit in at Pitt. Coach O’Toole will have to do the same.”
Barry was asked if he had a frontrunner at this point and he stated, “In terms of a favorite, I wouldn’t say there is one, I still actually have the opportunity to go back to Dartmouth to play a fifth year. So that’s obviously fresh in my mind from playing there for three years and being involved this last year, even with the injury. So, that’s definitely up there.”
“I’m thinking about going back there a lot but I’m still open. When I’m contacted by a school, I listen to what they have to offer, what I could offer them and see if there’s a fit. Playing time is important for me.”
Barry has a strong feel for what he wants in a school. “I love playing basketball. I want to make sure the fit is right in terms of culture-wise, if I could go in there and bring some leadership. Especially as a point guard, you got to be a leader out there and you’re an extension of the coach,” he said.
“That’s big for me. I want to enter a situation where I could provide leadership. I only have one year left and I want to make the most of it. I want to win, I want to go NCAA tournament. It goes both ways and obviously they want it to work out for them. So just making that relationship work I’d say is the main thing.”
The jump from the Ivy League to the ACC can be quite daunting. Barry was asked if he has reservations about playing in an elite conference and he confidently replied, “I played in the Ivy League for three years and [it’s] become a super high-level league. It’s a top 10 conference every year I think, almost the past three years I’ve been in it. I’ve played against really high-level talent.”
“You look at all the grad transfers are coming out. For me personally, I’m not trying to sound cocky or anything like that. I personally believe that I could play at any level and be successful anywhere in the country. I think that’s what you need to have to play at that level, is that confidence.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru