BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
Akil Vaughn, who was recently named CUNYAC/Hospital for Special Surgery Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December, currently finds himself in the midst of his second year of playing college basketball. But being a student-athlete isn’t new to the 6’5”, 200-pound forward from Georgetown, Guyana.
Vaughn, a junior at York College in Jamaica, Queens also plays volleyball for the college in addition to double-majoring in accounting and aviation.
“His motives and demeanor toward the game is unbelievable,” said Devine Chisholm, a team captain of the York College men’s basketball team.
Chilsholm said that through his time getting to know Vaughn over the past year he has seen why his teammate puts so much on his plate to work toward. Chisholm believes it comes from the opportunity Vaughn was given by being able to come to New York and him wanting to “make something” out of coming here, stating that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity in Guyana.
While volleyball, a sport he played in high school and has continued for the thrill of the game, is Vaughn’s “bread and butter,” he joined the basketball team after his teammates saw him playing basketball in the recreation center and saw potential in his game.
“He’s a force to have on the court,” Chisholm said, who added that he’d rather have Vaughn on his team than have to play against him.
In addition to playing two seasons of sports for his school, Vaughn also excels at his academics and holds a 3.7 grade point average while tutoring other players on his team, said Harris Rappel, the assistant athletic director for external relations and sports information at York.
Vaughn hopes to return home to help run the family accounting business, he said, as he has always had a passion for airplanes and wanted to learn how they work, along with how to fly them.
Vaughn attributes his work ethic to lessons his father taught him growing up. His father, an accountant back in Guyana, used to wake Vaughn up at 5 a.m. to start chores before he could play games. His work ethic seeps over into others too, as he is an inspiration to his team according to his teammates and his coach.
Vaughn’s father was not the only one who taught him life lessons; he said his coaches help create an atmosphere for the team in which the players are also able to take care of their school and home life.
Vaughn is the second athlete from York College to be named scholar-athlete of the month and first since 2013, when Sandra Samberger, a swimmer for York College earned the accolade in January 2013.
As of Feb. 3, Vaughn and his team have played to a record of 7-13 (3-7 CUNYAC) this season.
In six December games, Vaughn averaged a double-double, scoring 10.3 points and recorded 10.5 rebounds per game. He also averaged one block per contest and shot 43 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free-throw line.