Vertrail Vaughns is a 27 year old 188cm guard from Mesquite, Texas that is taking part at the Howard Hoops tour this weekend in Germany. He played at well known school George Mason(NCAA) playing a total of 101 games and also played a year at N Texas(NCAA) playing 31 games: 7.3ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 37.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 80.8%. He has played professionally with Bohemios Montevideo (Uruguay-LUB). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Vertrail thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for the interview. I am Currently in Dallas Texas getting really for the Howard Hoops tour. My summer has been great. Lots of traveling and lots of training.
You had your last season of NCAA basketball in 2014 playing a total of 122 NCAA games including 91 games with George Mason. And all you have to show is a short season of 5 games in Uruguay. Why do you feel are you still waiting for your professional career to start?
I believe it’s all about timing and finding the right connections.
Has it been more bad luck or not having the right connections or not having the right agent that hasn´t allowed you to have that professional career?
As you know, I have the D1 experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t have consistent big scoring or assist games to show my abilities. So, I would say my college stats and not having the right connections has made my process of being a pro baller slower. But I love the grind and I know it pays off!
You averaged 8,6ppg and 5,2ppg in two seasons with George Mason. There are guys that have had long careers coming from the NCAA 2 and NCAA 3. I think this is just very difficult to believe. I can´t imagine that the talent is lacking as you showed over and over that you can play with the best talent in the NCAA. Is your chip on your shoulder as heavy as a Boeing 747?
Every player´s path to becoming a pro baller is different. I love this game. I’ve been blessed with a gift to play the game of basketball. So, I will continue to grind for a contract!
talk a little about the last years. You didn´t play professional basketball. How difficult was it for you to have to accept that you weren´t being able to play professionally like ex teammates like Mike Morrison, Cam Long, Bryon Allen, Ryan Pearson, Luke Hancock or Sherrod Wright?
I received my Master’s Degree for North Texas in 2014. While trying to get a contract overseas, I was training kids and applying for corporate jobs. I become a Web developer, got married and had a beautiful baby girl! Life went so fast but I was preparing for the future. I continued to train year around. Once I found a good paying job, my goal was to save up enough money to take care of my family so that I can still fulfill my dreams as a professional basketball player!
You recently were added to the Howard Hoops roster for the tour in Germany How excited are you to be getting an opportunity like this? And What has brought you back three years later to wanting to get a professional job again?
I am very excited about this opportunity. Although I was not playing professionally for the past 3 years, I was still playing locally in different leagues around the city. I’ve never took a break from playing ball. I knew my time would come around again.
How did the whole process of becoming part of the Howard Hoops roster function? Did you send in a video to Ron Howard or did you actually know him before or have a meeting?
I saw Ron’s post about the Germany tour on the basketball openings page. I don’t know Ron personally, but I did my research on him. Once I saw his background, I wanted to know more information, so I reached out to him and asked him for all the details. I send him videos and told him about the experience playing Division 1 ball and playing for a short time in Uruguay.
How aware are you that the chances of signing a contract after a Howard Hoops tour aren´t that bad? With what kind of expectations are you going into this tour?
Being a part of a basketball tour out of the country is new to me. My goal is to compete at my highest level to earn a contract.
How fit are you. Your only 27 years old and coming into your best basketball age. Have you been working out with Brandon Jefferson another guy who has played in Germany back home in Flower Mound, Texas?
I’m in pretty good shape. I always feel that I can be in better shape. And is funny you asked about Brandon Jefferson. We have been playing against each other since high school. He’s a very good character guy and I like his game. We actually live in the same city here in Dallas. We play at LA fitness almost every Saturday during the summer.
How confident are you that you will make an impact on this tour and leave it signing a professional contract?
I am very confident that I will have a positive impact on this tour and compete at my highest level to earn a contract.
Please give a brief description about your game and why you could be an asset to any professional team in Europe?
I can be an asset to any team in Europe because I’m a great team player. I can play the point or shooting guard position. I play aggressive defense. I’m very vocal on the court and like to set the tone on defense and offense.
You played 4 years at George Mason reaching 3 CAA Tournament Semifinals. What were your fondest memories from being able to wear the George Mason jersey?
We went to the NCAA Tournament and we beat Villanova the first round. The atmosphere was great and my family had the chance to see me play on the big stage.
In your last season at George Mason you showed consistency against Northeastern scoring in double figures in all 3 games, but losing. You had their number as a scorer. Will you always remember Northeastern on a good and bad note?
Northeastern had a solid team. Our games were always very good. I never noticed I scored in double figures every time we played against them, until you mentioned it.
Were two of your sweetest memories at George Mason the two exciting wins 61-58 against Georgia State where you scored 17 points and the 62-61 win against VCU where you had 14 points. How special will these wins remain?
My sweetest memories at GMU was all the relationships and bonds I created with the people I call my closest friends today. But those 2 games were exciting. My teammates saw that I had the hand and kept feeding me the ball. All my college wins are special because I competed hard for every win!
I have observed Byron Allen and Cam Long play in Germany. What memories do you have of these guys on the court? Would your game have developed as well over the years at George Mason without their presence?
Both of those guys are great competitors. We all made each other better every day in practice. I learned so much from both of them on and off the court.
I have covered Mike Morrison for 4 years with the Fraport Skyliners and he is a great guy that I will always remember fondly. I am sure it is no different with you? Was it more his game or his genuine personality that will remain most present in your thoughts?
There is a lot to say about Mike Mo. Most of it is good lol. He’s a great basketball player and an outstanding guy to be around. He was one of the guys I looked up to while I was at Mason. We still talk from time to time.
How important were coaches Jim Larranaga and Paul Hewitt for your development at George Mason? What did each guy give you on and off the court that made you better?
Both coaches had very different coaching philosophies. Coach Larranaga pushed me every day in practice. He always encouraged me to play my game within his system. Off the court, he showed me how to lead by example and represent the team and school in a professional manner.
You got one more season of NCAA experience playing with North Texas (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging7.3ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 37.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 80.8%. What memories do you have of this year and what positives did you get out of it?
I had the opportunity to complete my Master’s Degree. I built some pretty good relationship with a few teammates and one of them became my best friend.
Who was the toughest player that you ever battled on a court anywhere being the NCAA or the playgrounds that reached the NBA?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve played against so many good players.
Who won a one on one back in the day you or Bryon Allen?
We both had our fair share of wins. But in this interview, I will say I had the most wins lol.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
MJ, Lebron, Kobe, Dwade
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
They’re both great. Leave them alone.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
Yes, both teams are stacked!
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
I think he would average 10 assists per game.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Money Talk. A movie with Chris Tucker
Thanks Vertrail for the chat,