Eric Cannon, a first-year on the UR Men’s basketball team, is a promising athlete who gets real playing time.
But Cannon’s basketball journey has not been all roses. He has found the transition from playing in high school to a college level challenging.
“The college season is more demanding both physically and mentally,” he said. “The level of detail that goes into everything we do is elevated. The practices can be tougher as well.”
To cope with the challenges of adjusting to college-level basketball, Cannon constantly searches for new ways to improve his basketball skills. He has worked hard on his pull-up jumper ability, and, in this upcoming off-season, he plans to master his playmaking ability, come off ball screens, and make reads to stop the opponents from scoring.
Cannon draws strength from many people in his life, like his teammates and family that continue to support his endeavors.
“My dad has definitely had the biggest impact on my athletic career,” Cannon said. “He’s always been in my corner from day one.”
Although his dad never played college basketball himself, he ran track at the Division I and professional level. He taught Cannon how to compete at a high level.
Cannon has also looked up to professional athletes for motivation and ways to better his game.
“I emulate my game after Chris Paul,” Cannon said
Barely 6 feet tall with a panache for hounding basketball players, Oklahoma City Thunder’s point guard Chris Paul has solidified his name as a premier defender and scorer. Despite his size, Paul focuses on the defensive end of the floor, being the only player in NBA history to lead the league in steals per game in four consecutive seasons. Paul’s emphasis on defense resonates with Cannon, and he tries hard to incorporate elements of Paul’s game into his own.
Cannon is also a skilled shooter. Kelley recalls a very specific moment in practice that illustrated Cannon’s shooting ability. In practice, the coaches told players to partner up and work on three-point shooting from various positions on the arc. Cannon made 15 three-pointers in a row.
Cannon tries to make a positive impact on his team by giving his all during games. This allows him to make up for mistakes on the offensive end. Cannon’s non-stop hustle is key to his success. His positive aura on the floor and even in the locker room is contagious. His work ethic speaks volumes about his ability to improve his game and score even more in the upcoming years.
First-year Ben Kelley, Cannon’s teammate, describes Cannon as “an excellent and easy-going teammate that’s fun to play with and a great shooter.”
Kelley said Cannon excels at putting others at ease. He is always cracking jokes, smiling, or asking simple questions to alleviate his teammates’ stress levels, whether it be checking in on their days or inviting them to grab something to eat.
Even at Friday night’s game against Case Western Reserve University, where Cannon received no playtime, he used creative handshakes with his teammates, chatting with players on the bench, and shouting words of encouragement throughout the game.
“Eric has been such a great addition to our program. His daily habits and approach to practice have been strong from the moment he stepped on campus. Additionally, he spends several hours a week outside of practice in the gym working on his craft,” said Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Taylor Roth.
Cannon’s work ethic and skill will continue to earn him playing time as he develops into a leader on his team.