By Ryan Connelly
Dimencio Vaughn, a versatile player for the men’s basketball team, saw his freshman season get cut short with a torn ACL. This year, he’s making up for lost time. Vaughn said, “I had a short season last year so [I’m] just taking advantage of the time I have now.”
However, over the summer, Vaughn found himself in the back seat of a police cruiser. On June 19, Vaughn was in South Windsor, Connecticut when police responded to a dispute in a nearby park. An individual involved reported to the police that a man had a handgun. However, when the police arrived, they found it was only a BB gun. The police also found a small amount of marijuana and identified Vaughn as a prime suspect.
Vaughn didn’t let this situation get to him. In fact, he used it as motivation to become better on and off the court.
“It didn’t really change me,” Vaughn said. “I’m just a normal kid, student-athlete who was around the wrong crowd at the wrong time. That kind of situation made people look at me as a person that I’m not, but I’m proving people wrong. I’m doing pretty well in the books and also on the court.”
From the incident, Vaughn was scheduled to stand before a judge on Sept. 11. According to Greg Ott, Rider’s sports information director, all the charges were dropped.
Since the incident, Vaughn has found motivation. “It told me to choose who to be around and be much smarter about what I do because I’m not only representing myself, I’m also representing the school,” he said.
This season, Vaughn is averaging 4.3 rebounds and 14.3 points per game. He also recorded a double-double against Fairfield, scoring 20 points and 13 rebounds. When Rider played at St. Peter’s, Vaughn had a stellar game, scoring a career high 34 points, going 13-for-18 from the field and 5-for-6 from the three-point line. In this season, he’s shooting over 50 percent from the field and just under 40 percent from beyond the arc. From the free-throw line, Vaughn is shooting about 50 percent. In the game against Wagner on Dec. 16, he went to the line 18 times and made 14 shots. During that game, he also recorded a career-high 42 minutes played.
Vaughn grew up in New York where he played basketball for Thurgood Marshall Academy. He averaged 23.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and helped his team to a 13-2 overall record. After, he played at Callaway High School from 2014-15. During the 2015-16 season, he played as a postgraduate at the Masters School where he averaged 24 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Vaughn said his team was supportive through everything. “My teammates are my brothers; they stick around. There weren’t many moments when I was feeling like I was down, I just [had] to get it together and that’s what I was doing.”