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Devin Cannady: ‘I am a winner ... I want to be a part of this experience.’

As part of our coverage of the Long Island Nets training camp, Chris Milholen spoke with Devin Cannady about his journey from Princeton and what he brings to the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. 

Brooklyn Nets

Devin Cannady, the 6’2” guard from Princeton, has had an interesting journey to get to where he is today. In his own words, Cannady’s journey has been a blessing ... and more than just basketball.

“It’s a blessing. For me, being the first one in my family to go to college, pursuing professional basketball,” said Cannady. And not just college but Princeton, which Cannady has described, without much exaggeration, as “the best school in the world”

Now, the challenge is the NBA and while 20 Princeton graduates have won Nobel prizes, only 10 have played in the league (two for the Nets).

“A lot of guys at Princeton do not get this opportunity and a lot of guys end up going overseas but my goal is to contribute to an organization ... eventually. Showcase what I can do and play on one of the parent clubs.

“So for me, coming from Princeton, going through the draft process, being one of the few people in that programs history to do that, like I said, it’s a blessing. It’s kind of like a testament to the hard work I put in. I’m looking forward to this season and getting things underway.”

Cannady was signed by Brooklyn earlier in the month —and is now working out with Long Island— because of his shooting. As pure a shooter to come out of Princeton, the Marian, Indiana, native finished with career shooting numbers of 44.1 percent overall, 40.1 percent from deep and an eye-popping 89.6 percent from the line, 10th highest in NCAA history. For long-time Nets fans, that level of shooting skill is reminiscent of another 6’2” Princetonian, Brian Taylor of the New York Nets.

Cannady’s time at Princeton was not a smooth ride. In January of his senior year, Cannady faced a disorderly persons offense for assaulting a campus police officer at a nearby off-campus Wawa convenience store.

Following the incident, Cannady was suspended, returned to the team, but later departed. He finished his senior season playing in a total of 16 games, starting in 15, posting his best college averages of 18.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 36 percent from three in 36.8 minutes per game.

Of the incident, he’s said before that “it stung” but noted as well, “Accepting it and talking about it is healthy,”

With the incident behind him, Cannady is focused on his new opportunity with the Long Island Nets and can’t wait for the G League season to begin.

During the pre-draft workouts, Cannady said he was particularly pleased with his Nets workout and called the workout ‘one of my favorites.’ The former Princeton guard loves the makeup and progression of the Nets organization.

“In the pre-draft, the Nets were one of my favorite teams to work out for,” Cannady said. “I had a great workout for them. I love the coaching staff, the whole core, from the G League and all the way up to the main program. They play with grit, they are hardworking, I know the history, the past couple of years, they are trending upwards. With the G League team, having gone to the Finals last year, that is what I want to be a part of. Like I said, I am a winner, I like to win, and whatever I can do, I want to be a part of this experience.”

Cannady, who prides himself for having a winning mentality, wants to help Long Island to finish the job they fell just short of last year, winning their first NBA G League title.

With day three of the Long Island Nets training camp in the books, Cannady feels good and confident about his time so far but acknowledges that he wants a role to help this team win. He’s also encouraged by having his Princeton teammate, Myles Stephens, the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Year, in camp with him. Long Island drafted Stephens in the G League Draft last week.

“It’s been good,” Cannady said. “You know, it’s been competitive and it’s nice having my college teammate here so it’s cool seeing him again. Carrying over from the Nets training camp into here, so it’s good having some experience over there. So I’m feeling good and confident.”

Long Island’s roster is loaded with bigs, but there should be a lot of jostling for the starting guard spots, with Jaylen Hands, the Nets second rounder; C.J. Massinburg, like Cannady an Exhibit 10 player; and Joe Cremo, another shot maker in the mix. C.J. Williams, with 63 games of NBA experience, is more of a small forward.

“I like to have fun on the court,” Cannady said. “I am competitive, I like to win so I have a winning mentality. Mainly, I knock down three’s. I shoot at a high percentage in my high school and college career, looked the same coming in. Whatever my role is, I want to help this team win.”

The Long Island Nets open their season, away, facing the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, on November 7.