Riordan’s Cannon keeps everyone happy 

Daniel Cannon is a San Francisco basketball player. Born at Kaiser Permanente Hospital 15 years ago and raised in Hunters Point, he lists Jason Kidd first when asked his favorite NBA ballers. Then he throws in Baron Davis and a nod to the Warriors.

Tracy McGrady, who Cannon says has been his favorite player ever since he came into the league, gets listed third.

Maybe it’s chance, maybe subconscious, but the Riordan junior point guard, who leads his team with 4.2 assists per game, rattles off Kidd’s name before any others. Really, it’s a predictable name to dropgiven Cannon’s place on the court for the Crusaders, who he has helped go 28-4 and remain a powerhouse in San Francisco prep basketball.

"My role is to get my teammates involved," Cannon said Wednesday as sixth-seeded Riordan prepared to play at third-seeded Sacramento (25-5) in today’s NorCal Division III quarterfinals. "I play hard defense and keep the team in order by running the plays, not really scoring points but getting everybody else their shots."

When West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year Rob Jones isn’t finishing off Cannon’s assists, it’s usually Richie Forslund or Logan Shoffner draining the open shots from the perimeter.

"I try to look to the matchups, like if somebody small is guarding Rob, obviously that’s a big matchup problem," Cannon said. "I try to draw double-teams and get it to the open man."

Cannon comes off humble and calm for someone about to turn 16 years old when he credits Jones and Shoffner, two seniors, for taking the reins for the Crusaders.

The point guard complements his assist numbers with 47 steals and confesses his defensive game is fiercer and less constrained at the moment.

His game is good fit at Riordan and, according to Cannon, his personality meshes with coach Rich Forslund’s program. Forslund runs a disciplined, one-strike-and-you’re-out operation where players earn their minutes and careless turnovers and errors get you pulled from games quickly enough that your seat may still be nice and warm when you get back to it.

"At first, I didn’t like it too much, making a mistake and getting put out," Cannon conceded. "But then looking at it from his point of view, it’s probably is the best thing to do."

Cannon is the youngest of three brothers and the first to attend private school in the city. The older Cannon boys went to Marshall and International Studies Academy, but he says he’s thankful to be at Riordanfor both academic and athletic reasons.

"I’m real happy about being in a private school and one of probably the best [basketball] programs in San Francisco," he said. "I’m happy my parents put me in here."

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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