‘Be kind to others’: Good Hope’s Canaan Jones reflects on his Raider days

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Good Hope’s Canaan Jones. (Maddie McKenney/The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — In this interview, I talked to former Good Hope basketball player, Canaan Jones. Cannan made a lot of great memories on and off the court in his time at Good Hope and was blessed to play for a very special team. 

“Winning area my junior year is definitely one of my favorite memories. It was the first area championship for coach Drew Adams, so it was awesome to be a part of that team. Another one of my favorite memories is winning the county championship last season. Coach Drew Adams and coach Scott Adams were pumped, and the student section was loud. I loved the environment of that game,” Jones said. “Being in the student section for the football games is one of my favorite high school memories. Sports in general have a beauty to them that’s almost difficult to explain. Tanner Malin would do his best Lamar Jackson impersonation and turn a busted play into a 40-yard touchdown, and the crowd would go crazy. Just hearing the crowd would give me chills, especially the Madison Academy playoff game. Even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, it was an awesome football game to watch.” 

He added, 

“It was awesome being a part of a team with so many talented players. Every practice was competitive, and I made great friendships. It was a fun group of guys to be around. But I enjoyed watching the underclassmen grow, not only as players, but as people. One player that really stood out to me when it came to growing was Tyler Cone. He was a very talented player from the beginning, but throughout the year, he grew and became a good vocal leader. Having good talent, along with good leadership skills, is a very good skill to have.”

Canaan is grateful to have played for two outstanding coaches during his time at Good Hope and learned so much from them; he even helped out the coaches at times as well.

“They’re not only outstanding coaches, but they’re good people in general. Having my role on the team, trying to be a vocal leader from the bench and bringing energy from the bench, was difficult at first because at the beginning of my senior year, I honestly felt like I was just there. But both coaches made sure I knew how appreciated it was, and how it didn’t go unnoticed,” Jones said. “That definitely made that role easier, knowing that my coaches and players appreciated that as well. Both coaches knew how to connect with the players and letting them know they have both coaches’ trust. I would sit by coach Scott Adams at the end of the bench so that way, I could tell him things I noticed. He would sometimes relay that to coach Drew Adams, and we’d make adjustments. That was just really cool that two coaches I have so much respect for, not only as coaches, but as people, would trust me and my basketball IQ. They’re amazing coaches and great people. I’ll forever be grateful for both coaches and the lessons they taught me not only about basketball, but also the lessons they taught me that will help me become a great man.”

“They were really good about teaching us how to handle adversity on and off the court. Whenever a team would go on a run, coach Drew Adams would call a timeout and tell us we could either roll over or go out there and fight. They also taught us how to have a good mentality. Both coaches taught us how to have confidence in yourself while being on the court and trusting your abilities.”

He added,

“Off the court, coach Scott Adams was very big on teaching us how to be great men. He wanted to teach us ways to become great husbands and fathers. Both coaches taught us about Christianity. Coach Scott Adams would have bible studies for anyone who wanted to come, and he would also give us a daily Proverb every practice. Even Colby Adams would come to practices or team retreats and teach us about the Bible and Christianity. Both coaches wanted us to understand that there was more to life than basketball, and that building a relationship with Christ should be our main goal in life.”

Canaan took away so much from his time at Good Hope and feels very grateful to be a Raider.

“I learned a lot about people in general and how we all go through things that we don’t tell others. After learning that, I wanted to try and make peoples’ days better because you never know what someone is going through. I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. If someone is having a bad day, if I could get them to laugh, even if it was just for 15 seconds out of their day, I felt good,” he said. “I tried being friends with everyone. I wanted to be that guy that anyone could count on. If they needed someone to talk to, I wanted people to feel comfortable talking to me. No one should feel one, especially if they’re going through some tough times, so I wanted to be there for anyone who needed it.”

He added,

“What makes Good Hope such a special school to go to is the relationships. The school has friendly teachers and staff. They make you feel welcomed, and they give you another person you can count on. The school has a lot of clubs and teams, so that way, people can find something they’re interested in and build friendships, maybe even find something they want to make a career of.”

Canaan will not only miss being at Good Hope next year, but he’ll also miss being a leader to the younger players alongside fellow seniors Tanner Malin and Noah Barnette.

“I will definitely miss seeing my friends every day. I’ve kept in touch with my really close friends. We all hang out every weekend basically, but I will miss seeing all of my friends every day. I talked to coach Scott Adams about this a few days ago: I’ll miss the routine that just going to school in general kept me in,” he said. “It was awesome. Tanner is the player that you tell your kids about when you’re in your 30’s (laughs). Tanner gave the team an advantage every game, just by being Tanner Malin. He was such a great player; teams would key in on him and that would open up opportunities for our other guys. He always let our guys know he believed in them and their abilities.”

He added,

“Noah brought a key edge defensively. He had no problem taking charges and getting loose balls defensively. He showed the younger guys how key it is to do the little and gritty things. He was also very supportive of the guys on the team. I taught the younger players how to be a great teammate. I tried being a vocal leader from the bench and tried to bring energy off the bench. I also taught them to respect both coaches and to always put the team before yourself. I also showed the younger players that you can impact a game from the bench by being a good leader and a good teammate. Coach Scott Adams told me that I was like another assistant coach for the team. I gave them any advice I could give them to help their game and help them be in the right spots defensively.”

Cannan gave the students that just started high school this fall some advice as well.

“Embrace it. High school was definitely some of the best years of my life, making memories with all of my friends. Be kind to others. It’s going to be scary at first but enjoy all of the little things because those things will be what you miss most.”

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