Allie Cannon signs National Letter of Intent

Ty Zacharisen

sports@am-news.com

It's been a heck of a year so far for Allie Cannon.

A starting guard on a Blackfoot team that won 23 games during the 2018-2019 season, Cannon has been in the center of All-Star nominations and All-District honors throughout the last few weeks.  

Her signing with the College of Idaho was the cherry on top.

In front of family, friends, coaches and fellow teammates who had all gathered at Blackfoot High School on Tuesday, Cannon made her commitment official.

One of the most talented basketball players this past season in Idaho, Cannon was a primary scorer for a Bronco team that would end up taking home a state consolation trophy. Cannon saved some of her best basketball for last, scoring in double digits in all but one of the Broncos postseason games. 

After falling to Hillcrest in the opening round of the District VI tournament, Cannon would notch four consecutive 15+ point games in a week, helping lead Blackfoot to its first state tournament birth in over a decade. The impressive streak was highlighted by a 23 point game against Bonneville, a win or go home contest that would end with the Broncos upsetting the second-ranked Bees in overtime.

"It didn't NOT help," said a smiling Cannon when asked on Tuesday if the strong performance had impacted the recruiting process. "I had been talking to schools before then, but that was just a fun time," said Cannon.

In an interview with the Morning News nearly a week prior, Cannon had stated that there were several schools that she was looking at playing for.  For Allie and her family, it was a trip to Caldwell recently that sealed the deal for Allie to don the purple and gold for the next four years. 

"I was able to go over there and play with the team and meet all the girls. They made me feel welcome, and I also really liked the academic prestige that came with the University. That was important to me."

Eastern Arizona, Snow College (Utah) and a handful of other junior colleges were also looking at Cannon.

While Allie hasn't officially declared on a major yet, the soon to be freshman is leaning towards majoring in either biology or exercise science.

"It reminds me of home," said Cannon when asked what her initial thoughts were when she visited the C of I campus. "I think I'll have a good time and like it down there."

 Cannon joins a College of Idaho team that was right in the thick of things in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) during the 2018-2019 season. The Yotes finished 16-14 on the year, earning a  fifth-place finish in the CCC. At College of Idaho, Cannon is coached by Janis Beal and will join former Bingham County star Makenna Schritter (Aberdeen) on the Yotes roster.

As one can probably imagine, the recruiting process and the steps that come with choosing a college can at times feel daunting, especially to a high school senior. But Cannon has never been alone. With guidance and help from parents Curtis and Jennie Cannon, Allie's transition into a soon-to-be college basketball player has been smooth sailing.

"They've been my biggest supporters. From the beginning of the recruiting process to now, they took me to all of the tournaments, drove me to my visit (at the College of Idaho). They've been everywhere for me. I wouldn't have been able to get anything done without them" said Allie when talking about her parents.

Of course, playing college basketball is no easy feat. Nationally, only about 3.5% of high school girls basketball players end up playing at some form of collegiate level. For Cannon, it's her experiences at AAU that prepared her to play on a college team.

"I was able to play on an AAU team called Salt Lake Metro, and my coach (Dave Hammer) pushed me to be able to play with some of the other girls on that team. That took my game up and prepared me for the next level".

But it was also Blackfoot High School itself that developed Cannon into the player she is today. Alongside fellow seniors Maycie McBride and Olivia Arave, the trio helped build the foundation for Blackfoot basketball in the future. Under Coach Courtnie Smith, the seniors transitioned the Broncos from a near winless team four years ago to a now bonafide state contender.

"I love my team in Blackfoot, and I'm so grateful for the year that we had. They (Blackfoot) are going to be great for the next few years, and I can't wait to follow along and watch them. The two other girls graduating with me are going to do great things too. I'm excited for all of us." said Cannon

Cannon's goals at the College of Idaho are to help her team the best she can, continually growing as a basketball player, and passing the classes put in front of her.

Blackfoot Coach Courtnie Smith was one of the many people on hand Tuesday morning for Allie's signing. For Smith, the moment is unique on a personal level but as a coach as well.

"This is just awesome. I've known Allie since she was in the 8th grade, playing summer ball, and this is what she's always wanted. This was her goal "said Smith.  "When you see a young athlete reach a goal like this, it's just huge. It's a testament of her hard work, especially in the off-season. She refused to accept anything less, and it paid off. And what an example to her teammates and the younger kids that see this. I played college basketball, and it was one of the best experiences. I push my kids to achieve that next level in any sport because it's such a cool experience." 

Allie's signing makes her the first girls basketball player to sign, but she's far from being the last. Fellow senior Olivia Arave, along with some of the younger talent on the team, is bound to play at the next level with continued strong play and practice. For Coach Smith, it's her experiences as a former player herself that push her to do whatever it takes to make sure her team is playing at the collegiate level.

"I can't remember anyone above me ever playing at the college level, so it was something that I had to do myself — things like making tapes, sending them out, and getting in touch with college coaches. So now as a coach that's a huge goal for me. I will do whatever I can to get my players at least looked at."

Coach Smith is actively helping her players with recruiting all year, sending videos of each player and continually reaching out to over 5,000 coaches nationwide.

 It's safe to say that the future is bright for Cannon and all the girls within the program at Blackfoot High School.

 

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