John Wall Holiday Invitational: 5-star F Vernon Carey Jr. loves hoops like retired NFL dad loved football

12/8/16 8:59:28 PM -- Miami, FL, U.S.A -- South Miami gaurd Latravian Glover (11) pressures University School forward Vernon Carey Jr (22) during the first half of the HoopHall Miami Invitational. -- Photo by Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 135835 hoophall 12/8/2016 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

University School forward Vernon Carey Jr (left)  is guarded by South Miami’s Latravian Glover during the Hoophall Miami event (Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)

RALEIGH, N.C. – University School (Davie, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr. is a brute 6-foot-10 forward who overpowers the opposition on both ends of the floor, muscling his way to the basket and finishing with hooks and poster-worthy dunks.

His physically imposing style is understandable, Carey’s father, Vernon Sr., played for the Miami Dolphins from 2004-2011.

Still, if you ask Vernon Jr. why he opted not to follow in dad’s footsteps and grind it out on the gridiron, his answer will likely baffle you.

“It’s too physical,” Vernon Jr. said with a laugh. “All that hitting and stuff, nah, that’s not really me. Then it’s too hot outside; that’s why I decided to play basketball.”

Thursday’s dominant 30-point, 10-rebound outing in a win over Northwood Temple (Fayetteville, N.C.) at the John Wall Holiday Invitational was just unnecessary reinforcement that Carey chose the right sport.

“Yeah I always leaned to basketball,” Carey said. “My dad knew that and he never pushed football on me.”

Carey tried football once, back in the eighth grade when he strapped up at defensive end.

“I was OK for an eighth grader, I think,” Carey said. “It was just too hot, though; I didn’t really like it. It only made me want to play basketball more.”

That’s worked out well.

Carey, a sophomore, is ranked No. 5 overall in the ESPN 25 and this past summer he led Team Florida to the coveted Nike Peach Jam title in the 15-and-under division.

“I feel like I’m a lot more focused now than I was when I was younger,” Carey said. “I know that if I work hard at it basketball can take me places. That’s what I keep in my mind when I’m playing and it’s just more fun. I love basketball like my dad loved football.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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