GCU forward Keonta Vernon striving to be better

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Vernon He is the emotional and physical leader of the GCU team. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vernon He is the emotional and physical leader of the GCU team. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
His body is covered with inspirational tattoos. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) His body is covered with inspirational tattoos. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Holding such a deep affection for both his mother and grandmother, Vernon has a tattoo of his departed grandmother. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Holding such a deep affection for both his mother and grandmother, Vernon has a tattoo of his departed grandmother. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Vernon's time is winding down at GCU and wants to cap off his collegiate career with an NCAA Tournament appearance. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vernon's time is winding down at GCU and wants to cap off his collegiate career with an NCAA Tournament appearance. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Vernon and the Lopes were picked to win the conference. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vernon and the Lopes were picked to win the conference. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Grand Canyon University forward Keonta Vernon bleeds purple. He fell in love with the university as soon as he transferred from the College of Southern Idaho.  

"It's been an unbelievable experience. From day one, everyone has accepted me," said Vernon.  

He is the emotional and physical leader of the GCU team. Head coach Dan Majerle relies on Vernon to inspire and motivate his teammates. Vernon told me when he was a freshman he wouldn't listen to anyone. But now he wants to share his experiences to make his team and the young players better. 

Vernon grew up in the small town of Tulare, California. He knows everyone and they know him.

His body is covered with inspirational tattoos. He has one on his left arm that quotes Isiah Thomas, that reads "Will I forget them when I make it?  And I ask them will you forget me when I don't?” It's his motivation to let people know back home he's striving for a better life.  

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"I don't want to be somebody who has something and went back to having nothing," said Vernon.

Vernon was raised by two great women, his mother and grandmother, who did what was necessary to care for loved ones.

"They're my heart and soul and did everything possible to get me where we are now," said Vernon.  

[RELATED: GCU basketball team has to step up for conference play]

Holding such a deep affection for both women, Vernon has a tattoo of his departed grandmother.  

"She did everything personally for me and my family. We would have 15 people in the house because she'd take people in and not care how much it cost," said Vernon.

Back to his caring mother Anyka Harris, who is one of his greatest inspirations and biggest supporter.  

"If you look at Facebook, she's tagging me on everything. It makes me happy that I make her happy," said Vernon.

Vernon's time is winding down at GCU and wants to cap off his collegiate career with an NCAA Tournament appearance. Vernon and the Lopes were picked to win the conference and opened league play with a road win over Seattle U. Never losing sight of who he is and where he's come from, Vernon is pushing hard, wearing the purple with pride and striving to be better.

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