Trevecca Nazarene University volleyball coach Scott Jones should be congratulated for his excellent judgment of talent.
It was Jones who offered Lady Longhorn Brooke Cannon an athletic scholarship last March to the Tennessee university.
Jones' faith in Cannon panned out when she proved she was indeed a top prospect, by being named the most valuable player at the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star North vs. South volleyball match. The annual match was played June 23 at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher.
Winning the MVP award, while playing alongside and against the state's finest players, was a thrill for Cannon, who graduated last spring with the Payson High School class of 2007.
"It was really exciting," she said. "I just decided to go into it (the match) and play my heart out."
What rendered Cannon's feat most remarkable is that she was a member of the North team that lost the match 3-2.
Traditionally, the MVP has been a member of the winning team.
"I know I was on the losing team, but I thought I had a chance of winning (MVP)," Cannon said. "But there were a lot of good players and they all played really well."
The ACA match, which pits Arizona's most outstanding graduated senior volleyball players against one another in one final prep tournament, turned into an exciting, seesaw affair that was tied 2-2 entering the final game.
"We played hard but lost 15-12," Cannon said.
With the star clash at an end, the 5-foot, 9-inch former Lady Horn setter will continue her career at Trevecca.
"I'm excited for the change," she said. "It's an experience most people don't get to have."
Cannon departs Payson High School as one of the most accomplished players in Lady Longhorn volleyball history.
In addition to being a rare four-year letter winner, she was a varsity starter as a sophomore and last season was named the Class 3A East region's Most Valuable Player.
Cannon's high school coach, Arnold Stonebrink, believes the honor was well deserved.
"She was our team's clear-cut leader ... and was a player who hustled all the time," he said.
Cannon's ascension to the East's top honor actually began as a freshman, when she decided to play on the Club Red 17-years-and-under traveling volleyball team. She said it was the best way to get the recognition she needed from college recruiters and to better herself for varsity play.
"If you want to be good, you almost have to play year-round," she said.
Her dedication to the sport eventually paid dividends when Jones offered her the scholarship.
"To play in college and have a scholarship has been my goal all along," she said. "Volleyball is my passion."