This is the third and final part of our Q&A with former Razorback three-point-shooting specialist Cannon Whitby (here's part 1 and part 2). In today's installment, Cannon discusses which former teammates he's still in touch with, his favorite Razorback road trips — and which song Coach Richardson used to make conditioning drills even more painful. Many, many thanks to Cannon for his time and memories.
Expats: Which of your former teammates do you still keep in touch with?
Whitby: I’m hit and miss with a few. Andrew Lang is here in Atlanta. He’s a chaplain with the Hawks. He’s done real well.
Charles Balentine — we’ve become real close even though he didn’t play with me. I talk to Clyde Fletcher some. Lee Mayberry was my suitemate. I talk to him some. He’s a class act. I don’t talk to Todd much. That would probably be the ones that I still visit with every so often.
Andrew Lang was always steady. He played with a cross on. That says a lot about somebody.
Every time Stephan Moore would sign an autograph, he’d put a verse of scripture under it. That always struck me as impressive, especially now, that you had college players at that level that were still grounded enough to know who got them there.
We have a tendency to always talk about the players that have all of the talent and that are struggling in life right now. But we don’t talk about a lot of the players that were in the middle of the pack or did well that are now very successful and are well-grounded. And there are a lot of those out there too.
Expats: What was the most fun road trip that you guys took during your career and what was the town in the Southwest Conference that you guys dreaded going to?
But probably the most enjoyable one was when we went to Denver to go the Final Four. That was quite an experience.
We got on the bus and went to downtown Denver to get dinner late one night. We all got off of the bus in our red, and we had a couple of gang members come up to us wondering what we were doing. Some of the guys who came from big cities had to get out and talk to them.
I think they thought that we were the Bloods, and we were in the Crip area. That was pretty interesting.
And when we were at the Final Four practicing, Coach comes in and he goes, "Hey guys, I need you to put these shoes on, and I need you to run up and down the court a couple of times. And then you’ll take them back off."
But when he pulled the shoes out, it was hilarious because they were those big platform shoes. They were designed to build your calf muscles for quickness and jumping.
So we strapped on a bunch of platform shoes, which made us look like walking ducks. We went out on the court and ran up and down the court twice and went back to the room and took them off and put our shoes on.
We got a big kick out of that. That was pretty enjoyable.
Did we dread going anywhere? No. I go back to the comment that Coach made about the bear in the alley. He had us believing that we could beat anybody anywhere.
My senior year, when we played UNLV in Vegas, and they were dominating everybody, we gave them a game. And we thought that if we could have gotten to that championship game against them, that we could have beat ‘em. I think that may have been part of our problem, that we overlooked and underestimated Duke to some degree.
Expats: What music reminds you of your playing days and your time in Fayetteville?
Whitby: You’re going to get a kick out of this one. In order to play the 40 Minutes of Hell, you had to be in phenomenal shape.
We would lift weights for an hour, and then Coach would have us go out on the road and run up hills. Then we’d come back to the gym and jump rope and practice. It was grueling.
Coach had a red and white van, and as you were running up those hills, he would pass you with the windows down, and he’d be playing "Don’t Worry, Be Happy." And as he did that, he’d just be grinning.
And then we’d get back in the gym — and of course we’re all just hating life — and we’d go run wind sprints and throw the medicine ball, and he would put that "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" song on in the gym.
When I went back to that reunion luncheon, one of the other guys was still talking about the same thing. He said, "Man, do y’all think about running and Coach yelling at you when you hear that song today?" I said, "Absolutely."