MHS’ Carey shows his softer side

HIS EVERY MOVE on a basketball
court is watched closely by referees, and he is the favorite target of opposing student sections.
    You may not even like Morgantown High basketball player Chris Carey. You may see him as cocky or think he’s out to cause trouble on the court.
    And he knows it.
    “The fans at other schools hate me,” Carey said with a smile on Monday before practice. “That’s the way it goes. I know the refs are always watching me, and that’s fine, because it only makes me play harder.”
    He scored a career high 34 points in his last game, a 77-72 victory over University High in the sectional tournament, and when he wasn’t scoring he was jawing with UHS guard L.C. Jefferson, and the two had to be separated at one point.
    The last time MHS (18-5) played Brooke, the Mohigans’ Region I championship opponent tonight, Carey was suspended from the game for violating team rules.
    All of which only provides more reasons to dislike the 6-foot-4 guard.
    But, there are two sides to every story and here’s Carey’s, in his own words:
    “I realize a lot of the things I do on the court come off in a negative sense,” Carey said. “To me, I just try to play the game as hard as I can, and I’m going to try and do anything I can to win.
    “People may think I hate L.C., because of us going back and forth in the last game. I don’t hate L.C. I don’t even know him that well. I think he’s a good player. To me, I think it raises the level of play and makes the game more fun.”
    MHS coach Tom Yester said Carey is a throw-back player in the sense that his will and desire to win is something he doesn’t see in a lot of players today.
    “He has a competitive spirit and a great desire to win,” Yester said. “He doesn’t like to lose, and at times he’s fiery. It’s something you don’t see in a lot of players today. Nobody likes to lose, but few are willing to work as hard as he does.”
    It’s something Carey attributes to his father — WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey.
    “I never saw my dad play,” Chris Carey said. “A lot of people that did see him play have told me that I play almost exactly like he did. They said he had an attitude on the court, too.”
    As for his on the court happenings:
    “I’m going to play hard no matter what,” Carey said. “I’m a senior and I don’t want the season to come to an end. I’m not going to back down, and people may see that as a negative. If I get shoved or take a little forearm, I’m going to give it back. That’s how I play the game. It’s the only way I know how to play.”
    There is another side to Carey, one you don’t see on the basketball court.
    “Some of my teachers will go to the games and they always tell me the next day they couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” Carey said. “In school, I’m real quiet and I never say anything.
    “I’m not a bad person, but I wish people would get a chance to know me before they make a judgement. I think I’m a little misunderstood. Like last year whenever we played North Marion, I used to get into it with Rickey Sell and Matt Offutt and now those two guys are like my best friends. Once people get to know me, they usually like me.”
    Yester agreed, “Off the court, it’s completely different for Chris. I have him in class and he never says a word. He’s a kid just like anybody else. I think he’s a little sensitive to criticism, but he’s going to keep on fighting and working hard no matter the situation.
    “Anybody that goes that hard, I think you have to admire that.”
JUSTIN JACKSON covers high school sports for The Dominion Post. Reach him at