Yes Guru, Yes Method, Yes Teacher.
Cannon showed an affinity for numbers at an early age, overwhelming his father with questions about slugging percentage, ERA and on-base percentage when reading the sports section as a child. At age 8, he swiped his father’s Bill James books and devoured them.
Cannon put together statistical-based projects while other kids were playing with Legos. At age 13 Cannon developed a formula to compare the statistics of Negro League baseball players to the white Major League players of that era. He began writing former players and asking them questions.
Jim Cannon didn’t even remember his son’s ACC player efficiency ratings at age 15. “I’m sure he did do that, and I say that flippantly because he probably had about 25 other projects going on,” Cannon said.
Through a friend, Jim Cannon met recruiting analyst Dave Telep, now with ESPN, and told him about his Drew’s statistical obsession. Telep was intrigued, as he’d just finished reading Moneyball days before and for years had conducted annual studies on topics like why big men from Africa tend to not meet recruiting expectations.
“There’s this kid in my house that I don’t know what to do with,” Jim Cannon told to Telep at their lunch. “Can you help me?”