Everyone has a dream, the only question is what price are they willing to pay to make there dreams comes true. Nothing is free these days even dreams. Many talk about making dreams comes true but the fact of the matter is only a small percentage of people fulfill their athletic dreams of playing Division one basketball. Even less fulfill the dream of getting to the wear the uniform of the only school they want to attend. Allison Cannon, has joined that rare group of kids. The ones that chase a dream and make it a reality. She did that this week when she gave NJIT OF THE AMERICAN EAST CONFERENCE A VERBAL COMMITMENT.
ALLISON CANNON is a dreamer and a risk taker. That only comes when you believe in yourself and those around that you love most believe in you. Last year Allison Cannon left the CJ Hawks basketball AAU team. The very team that developed her skills and made her believe in herself. It was risky business because she was developing and the organization had made her the face of their program. They allowed Allison Cannon to shine like a bright light. But yet Allison Cannon left the Hawks, she felt her time there was done. So she moved over to the New Jersey Shoreshot, a decision that many thought would be a mistake. When her mother asked me if she should leave the CJ Hawks, I was honest with her. I told her, why ruin a good thing, that her daughter was growing as a player and that the Shoreshots may not have the need for her the way the CJ Hawks team does. I told her that Allison would certainly not play on the U17 HGSL TEAM. My words didn’t matter because Allison Cannon had decided she wanted to play for the Shoreshots. It was a classic case of a kid betting on themselves, it was a classic case of parents willing to let their kid fail and it turned out to be the best bet a kid has ever made on themselves… because ALLISON CANNON has made two dreams come true. She wanted to play Division one basketball and she wanted to play at NJIT and they both are a reality now.
I asked Allison Cannon, what school she wanted to attend last fall. She told me she really liked NJIT and she went on a visit to NJIT and fell in love with the school and Head Coach Lane. She told me “I really like Coach Lane and want to play for him”. This winter I told NJIT recruiting coordinator Arron Gratch “you won’t be able to get her if you don’t close before July”. I told him this because I knew a few things about Allison Cannon only those who see her everyday could know. I knew she was tough as nails, I knew she had a desire to get better, I knew she desperately wanted to prove she was as good as anyone in the Shore. I knew it wasn’t talk, I knew it was truth. I knew it was truth by her actions. Everyday Allison walked in the gym she knew that I would attack her game. She knew every mistake would produce a question about her dedication, commitment or effort. She knew nothing she could do was ever right. One day I told her “I can’t coach you hard, you will fall apart and lose your confidence.” She said that’s not true ” I need you to coach me hard because I want to get better, I’m a division one player” …To this day I have never seen a kid so clear about her goals. This was the kid who showed up at the gym and was singled out and forced to do drills before shooting sessions would began after school, not once did she ever complain. She just got the work done and she put up with the drama. This is the kid who got the text after a bad game and it read; you not paying the price. Yet she may have been paying the biggest price of all. She was under constant pressure but they say pressure make diamonds and Allison Cannon has become a diamond, a very shinny diamond. In a lot of ways a priceless diamond. That rare kid today that can take the heat, make the sacrifices and expect nothing in return except an opportunity. Now she has been rewarded for all the painful moments when you never know the end game. NJIT is lucky, very lucky because they are not just getting a talented player. They are getting a player that wants to play for them. A player who dreamed of wearing there uniform and doing magical things. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR NJIT WOMENS BASKETBALL …. AND A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR ALLISON CANNON AND HER PARENTS.
You need a little luck when making a dream come. Like your have to find the right AAU team, the right coach and lots of good timing. Allison Cannon found all that in Tracey Sabino. She believed in Allison Cannon, she gave her the platform to shine. Tracey Sabino is a deliver of promises, she takes the forgotten or unknown and makes them relevant. That exactly what she has done for Allison Cannon and Cannon has taken full advantage. Tracey Sabino believed Allison Cannon could be special and she once again was right. Tracey Sabino’s eye for talent has now become her coaching skill set. That and sending kids to great schools on a free education. Homdel High school was going to though some changes and tough times in their basketball program. But they got lucky, real lucky in fact. Allison Cannon got real lucky in fact. That’s because Jessica Venturelli took over perhaps the hardest job in the Shore Conference. A job that is known for parents at times calling or trying to call the shots. But Jessica Venturelli took over Holdmel and embraced her players, the parents and town. She may be the Coach that Holmdel has been looking for over the last decade. A communicator, teacher and female that relates to young people. But what everyone found out right out the gate as well was Jessica Venurelli could coach. It’s the reason Allison Cannon, had a dream junior year. The type of year parents and kids pray about. A season of team success, personal success and no drama. In other words Jessica Venturelli made basketball at Holmdel fun for an entire community. She may have saved a program and JUST AS importantly allowed Allison Cannon’s dreams to come to life.
Parents have a hard job when trying to watch their kids try and make a dream come true. Danielle and Scott know all about this because they have lived it. They watched their daughter change AAU teams after having so much success. They have seen what it looks like when a child has lost confidence or questioned their talents or future. They have panicked at times as all parents do in the recruiting process. The have wiped away the tears of their daughter, spent large sums of money in training and AAU. They did all this knowing it could the way it has with tears and pain. But they had an unwavering belief in their daughter. They knew they daughter could find a way thought the darkness. They knew during the tough times that their daughter was tough. They understood tough times don’t last but tough kids do and their daughter was among the toughest. Danielle and Scott refused to let their daughter believe anything except making her dream a reality. Today they have seen all their trust in Allison help make a dream come true….and its a BEAUTIFUL DAY!
Everyone says they have a dream school until the other schools start calling and whispering sweet dreams in a kid ear. When other D1 schools got in the mix for Allison Cannon, I though it was going to be a long drawn out process. I told the NJIT staff “you guys are in a war now” You going to need a little luck along the way. Well Allison Cannon had different thoughts, that because when Allison Cannon saw me at shooting this week. She said something very odd, she said “Tiny I really like Coach Lane” … I like the other coaches too but I like coach Lane, he is a good person”….Then later that night I got this text, “I committed to NJIT, I just knew I liked the school, I think I will play and getting a good education. I’m super excited. It was just got a great vibe from Coach Lane and Coach Gratch…. I will see you tomorrow” …. she didn’t show up the next day because she had to call school and get ready to tell everyone she going to NJIT….WHAT DID I SAY TO HER
Your lazy and not committed, some thing never change… except ALLISON CANNON FUTURE AND IT LOOKS BRIGHT…..CONGRATS GIRL!