The Recruiting Guy:

Future Hog Sills and Jonesboro cherish Canaan Sandy's friendship

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Jonesboro guard Desi Sills (3) knocks the ball out of the hands of West Memphis' Zachary Byrd (12) during the 6A boys state championship game Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Hot Springs.
Jonesboro guard Desi Sills (3) knocks the ball out of the hands of West Memphis' Zachary Byrd (12) during the 6A boys state championship game Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Hot Springs.

Arkansas Razorback super fan Canaan Sandy makes his way around the state to watch and support future Hogs while also encouraging other prospects to consider the university.

Sandy, who was inducted Into the ESPN Fan Hall of Fame in 2014, often forms relationships with the athletes and teams he cheers on, and the bond usually grows into a strong friendship.

The Jonesboro basketball team and Arkansas signee Desi Sills grew to love Sandy during their second consecutive Class 6A state title run this season.

“When I first found out Canaan was a big fan of mine, I took it to heart,” Sills said. “A person like me that’s coming from nothing, and seeing him and I’m able to inspire him — it makes me so happy.”

Sandy attended five Hurricane games this season, with three being road games. Jonesboro coach Wes Swift first met Sandy this season.

“As soon as he walks in somewhere, even if he doesn’t know anyone, he immediately makes friends,” Swift said. “It’s just kind of contagious. So I wanted to meet this guy. He obviously acted like we’ve known each other all our lives. He’ll hug on you immediately. It was just kind of cool.”

One of the road games Sandy attended was against conference rival West Memphis, where he befriended the Jonesboro student section while also rooting on Blue Devil sophomore forward Chris Moore, who’s drawing interest from the Hogs.

“He was hanging out with some of our student section rooting for Des, and I think he was rooting for Chris, too, because he would like for him to be a future Razorback,” Swift said.

Sills said his relationship with Sandy grew during the season.

“Every time I see him, he brightens my day, and he makes me happy,” Sills said. “I’m there for him.”

He’s been a recipient of Sandy’s love.

“He’s like, ‘Desi I love you,’” Sills said. “Every time I see him, I get to know him more and more. He always tells me he loves me.”

Sandy and his mother Ginger, who live in Cave City, followed the Hurricanes to Hot Springs for the state championship games. They sat behind Swift and North Little Rock girls coach Daryl Wimple during one contest. 

“He became the hit of the whole section, and I introduced him to all of the North Little Rock people, and of course, he hopes Moses Moody becomes a Razorback, too,” Swift said. “So he was doing his part with that.”

Sandy attended Jonesboro’s championship celebration at the high school.

“I walk in and the first person I see is Canaan,” Swift said. “Of course, we go over there and hug and talk. When it came to cutting the nets down. I just said, ‘Canaan you want to come and join us?’ and he was like ‘Heck yeah’. Desi cut off some of the net and handed it to him. He’s just so appreciative of everything and just enjoys life.”

Sandy’s mother, Ginger, have been moved by the love and compassion the Jonesboro football and basketball programs have shown towards her son.

"Believe me, this is not the first time the wonderful Jonesboro folks have made me cry,” Ginger said. “I am constantly in awe of the patience, love, inclusion and acceptance they give us when all we can give back is a bunch of hugs and honest love. Yep, they always are making my eyes leak, as Canaan says. And there are more Razorback prospects coming from the Hurricanes, and we are so excited to have reasons to be back in the Dog Pound next year.”

Sills is excited to see Sandy in Bud Walton Arena.

“It will be crazy,” Sills said. “He’s a big fan of mine and a big fan of the Razorbacks. I can’t wait to see him at Bud Walton.”


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