Well-traveled Cannon hopes to make Connecticut home

Mohegan — Emma Cannon hopes to buy a house someday where she can hang up all the basketball jerseys she’s worn during her career.

She better buy a big house.

Cannon has been around the world and ay yai yai. She played in Germany, Australia, Israel and Russia over six seasons before finally getting a WNBA job with the Phoenix Mercury in 2017.

Cannon is hoping to add a Connecticut Sun jersey to her collection. The 29-year-old signed a training camp contract during the offseason and looks to earn what may be just one remaining roster spot.

“It’s worth it at the end of the day,” Cannon said about her travels. “It is. You get to travel and see the world. Not many people get the opportunity to do that.”

Cannon, a 6-foot-2 forward, was a 2011 NCAA Division II All-American honorable mention her senior year at Southern Florida and went undrafted. She didn’t even get a training camp invite, so off to Germany she went.

“(There are) sacrifices all the way around,” Cannon said about playing internationally for so long. “Honestly, it’s funny because somebody asked me the other day about holidays, and I really don’t remember the last time I was home for Thanksgiving. That’s the best holiday outside of Christmas. I’ve missed about eight or nine, including when I was in college.

“I have so much experience under my belt. I’ve learned so much. I’ve met so many different people. It definitely molds you.”

Cannon caught her first big break playing for Chevakata during the 2016-17 Russian League season where she was the leading scoring and rebounder, ahead of the likes of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. She caught the attention of Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello, who was then coaching European superpower UMMC Ekaterinburg of Yekaterinburg, Russia.

“(Brondello) opened the door for me,” Cannon said. “As a 26-year-old, when you haven’t been in the league and you’re still making a name for yourself overseas, you still, in the back of your mind, are thinking about the WNBA, but it slowly fades.

“You never give up hope, but realistically, it may not happen. But when it did, I was grateful, grateful for the opportunity.”

Cannon played in all 34 regular-season games for the Mercury in 2017 and averaged 12.9 minutes as a reserve. She made an impression on Curt Miller, Connecticut’s head coach and general manager.

“She made an impact in (our) playoff loss (to Phoenix), frustrating Alyssa (Thomas) at times,” Miller said. “She’s so tough. She’s gritty. Physical. Doesn’t back down. Does all the little things that you need on a team. ... We just kept hearing about her being a great teammate and liked by a lot of people.”

Phoenix cut Cannon after its second preseason game last season and she didn’t catch on elsewhere.

“I think it put a battery in my back,” Cannon said. “It made me go harder that summer. I played with guys all summer. I wanted to prove myself, let people know that just because you get cut doesn’t mean it’s over. I went over to Poland (last September) and I had a great season. And then Curt called.

“Yeah, it all worked out, right?”

• Jonquel Jones and Alyssa and Jasmine Thomas arrived on Tuesday, meaning that the Sun have everyone in camp. ... The Sun waived Ariel Edwards and Brianna Kiesel to keep their roster at the 15-player preseason limit. They must waive three more before the regular season begins (May 24). ... Miller said they’ll be “cautious” about Alyssa Thomas’ preseason workload and give her the rest she needs after playing in the Czech Republic.

n.griffen@theday.com

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