The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

June 3, 2014

Hickory's Cannone to play hoops at W&J

- — Few Mercer County-area student-athletes experienced scholastic success to the degree Anthony Cannone enjoyed.

The Hickory High senior secured 9 letters as a “tri-athlete,” captaining the baseball, basketball and football teams, earning various  postseason laurels, while academically being a National Honor Society student.

So owing to a textbook upbringing that has prepared him to remain on that successful path, Cannone contemplates continuing that academic-athletic double-double by matriculating at prestigious Washington & Jefferson College as a pre-med major and basketball player.

He anticipates a daily regimen of practice, classes, study table, then “extra time spent in the gym and weight room.

“I talked with my family and friends about it. W&J, when I went to visit there, it just fit,” Cannone confided, continuing, “I talked with my parents about it, and it’s definitely possible. What W&J does — and this was another factor — (the Presidents) practice from six-thirty to eight-thirty in the morning, and I think that’s the perfect time.”

“I think I have a good balance and I’m pretty good at time-management, so I’m excited!” Cannone said.

Already armed with a $15,000 Trustee Scholarship, Cannone can earn an additional $12,000 via W&J’s pre-acceptance program with Temple University Hospital’s School of Medicine.

“That was the deciding factor; you’ve got to look to the future,” Cannone confided. “I definitely want to study orthopaedics and, hopefully, become an orthopaedic surgeon. I ‘shadowed’ Doctor (Jerome) Bonier a couple times in the (operating room), and I knew right away I loved it, and that’s exactly what I want to do.

“I knew I always wanted to be a doctor. What kind of doctor is what I was kind’ve on the fence about. But when I ‘shadowed’ Doctor Bonier I knew immediately, ‘This is awesome! This is exactly what I want to do.’ He definitely played a major, major factor in my decision as far as what kind of doctor I’d like to be.”

Cannone canned 16.5 points per game last season for Hickory, which ended 16-6 and earned a District 10 Class AAA playoff berth. He earned 1st-Team All-Region laurels and was selected to the Roundball Classic where he scored a dozen points.

Additionally, as a 1st-Team wide-out (33 receptions for 548 yards and 7 TDs)/2nd-Team defensive back (5 intercetions) Cannone contributed to a school-recod 34-6  ledger and a 3-peat of District 10 football titles under Coach Bill Brest.

“I’m definitely, definitely going to miss it,” Cannone confessed. “Allegheny actually wanted me to play basketball and football, but with a pre-med major and playing a sport, I had to pick one. And you’ve got to love what you do, and I love basketball, so ...”

W&J’s Presidents posted a 13-13 overall ledger in 2013-14 under 8th-year Head Coach Glenn Gutierrez (102-116).

“They’re young, they’ve got everybody back ... but I’m excited,” Cannone said. “They went eight-and-eight in the (PAC) last year, but the upside’s there, and I think I can be a key contributor to that. I just want to be a part of it, and I’m really excited!

“They play pretty fast and they have a lot of guards,” Cannone continued regarding his prospects, “so ‘one’ (point guard) or ‘two,’ (shooting guard) but most likely point guard. But I also think I can stretch the floor a little bit at the ‘two,’ especially with the way they play.”

Cannone expressed gratitude to his parents, Chris and Nick.

“I can’t give enough thanks to my mom and my dad. They’ve been there through absolutely everything. They’ve pushed me to be the person and player that I am, and I honestly can’t say ‘thank you’ enough. They’ve done absolutely everything for me.”

He also cited uncle Rick Ladjevich and godfather Gary Revale, as well as Brest and baseball Coach Hinkson — “they’ve always had faith in me, ever since I was a sophomore and freshman, putting me in varsity games, giving me that opportunity to prove myself. I can’t thank them enough.”

Also, 5th-grade basketball coach Mike Puleo.

“He was the man,” a smiling Cannone recalled. “He’s deceased (owing to cancer), but every night I thank him, pray for him. He taught me that patience is a virtue, and I like to remind myself of that when I get worked up. ... Short memory.

“I always keep him in the back of my mind. I know he’s always there, watching down over me, along with my grandpa ‘Grassy.’ When things get tough, I know they’re right there behind me, saying, ‘We know you can do it.’ So I definitely look up to them in those moments, and just kind’ve try to put (adversity) behind me and do what’s best for the team.”

With a team that has supported him thus far, Cannone cannot consider anything but a fruitful future.

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