Vertrail Vaughns (11) goes in for a lay-up against VCU in the CAA tournament. Photo by: Peter Flint

Redshirt freshman Vertrail Vaughns has been through a lot of hardships in his young life. When he was 13 years old, Vaughns was chased by a Rottweiler. In his escape, he attempted to jump on a car to elude the dog and smashed through the car’s windshield, badly injuring his face.

“That’s where all these scars on my face come from,” said Vaughns.

The event in his life was just one of a few bad incidents that Vaughns has been through. From being hit by a car at the age of seven to undergoing wrist surgery last season, Vaughns knows pain. Coming off a freshman year in which he medically redshirted, Vaughns was hungry to get back on the court.

Struggles are an understatement for what Vaughns has been through in his young life. The scars are the reminders of the tragedy that he underwent when he was 13.
“It was painful,” Vaughns said with a laugh.

Regarding his recent surgery, he was in a cast for three weeks and was unable to move his hand at all during that time. When he got the cast off, he started rehabbing it by stretching it out and eventually regained all motion in his wrist. It wasn’t until two weeks after he regained motion that Vaughns shot a basketball.

Vaughns sure hasn’t had any setbacks from the injury.

This year he has been a catalyst off the bench, shooting an impressive 51.7 percent of threes with 4.7 points per game. The numbers don’t jump off the page, but Vaughns has really shown his worth this year. Against Virginia Commonwealth University two weeks ago, he scored 12 points in 11 minutes of play, shooting four of five from 3-point range.
“My dad and my stepdad were shooters so we would go to the gym everyday and just shoot 2,000 to 3,000 shots,” said Vaughns. “They taught me to shoot with a high arc and have a funny spin on my ball.”

His shooting has been lethal off the bench, providing the Patriots with a catalyst who can change the complexion of the game with a few shots.

Until this season, Vaughns was for the most part unknown to the George Mason University population. He played in six games of the 2009 basketball season, and was unable to show what he could do on the floor, especially from behind the arc. Earlier in the year, Vaughns wasn’t playing nearly as much as he is now, due to his lack of defensive pressure and intensity.

“I wasn’t drinking and eating how I was supposed to. I’ve picked up my defensive intensity and rebounding and have a lot more energy now and the offense just followed,” said Vaughns.

It doesn’t look like Vaughns will be getting benched anytime soon. He can contribute on both ends of the floor and is a great substitute in the backcourt.
Vaughns is also considered the best dancer on the team, according to junior Ryan Pearson. Pearson went on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday and had to explain himself for his dancing performance on ESPN2 before the Northern Iowa game.

“The best dancer on the team by far is Vertrail Vaughns. This guy has a lot of dance moves and we try to copy him a lot. Some things he does on the dance floor are just amazing,” said Pearson, on First Take.

He was also challenged by a fan this summer when the team was in Italy to a dance-off.

“I’m from Dallas and we have a lot of different dances, like the Dougie. Coming from down South, you have to know how to dance and have rhythm.”

Vaughns is hoping that he and Patriots will be dancing more this March if they head into the NCAA tournament.