By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, Tenn. — Sophomore GerVaughn McGhee, simply known as “Gee,” started all 32 games last year at shooting guard for the Mocs basketball team with a résumé that includes a 2013 Southern Conference All-Freshman team award.
Fast forward to this season, and he can now add an appearance on ESPN Sportscenter’s Top Plays to
that list, which left fans in McKenzie roaring after he hit a 70-foot shot before halftime against Elon Jan. 23.
But along with shooting basketballs, he must also shoot for the grades, because his daily life involves balancing schoolwork with training, travel, interviews and games.
“It has its perks, but at times it can get hard,” McGhee said. “You’re on the road a lot and you’re dealing with people and practice. It’s very time consuming.”
The 6-foot-5 guard is a native of Baton Rouge, La. Once he stepped on campus last year, being eight hours from home and a new team were not the only things that he had to get used to.
“I hardly go home; it’s very different,” he said. “I don’t eat half the food here and it’s always hot in Louisiana. It gets cold here quickly, and I’m not able to adapt as quickly as I want. It’s a lot of different things. When I do go home, I usually drive and when I don’t feel like driving, I just take the mega bus.”
When first-year UTC head basketball coach Will Wade arrived, McGhee was one of the first players he reached out to.
“I went to Baton Rouge to meet him the weekend after I got the job,” Wade said. “I met with him, his father, and his mother. I think he likes it here in Chattanooga and enjoys the environment. He seems to have adjusted well. His parents make it up here quite a bit for games, so I think that eases some of that homesickness if there is any.”
Though his off days are limited, McGhee enjoys adding to his collection of basketball shoes, and spending time with his friends back home.
“I’m a sneakerhead,” he said. “If you don’t know what a sneakerhead is, it means I collect shoes for a living. I have Jordans, Nike, and sometimes Reebok depending on the type. I also love going out, having fun, not worrying about every problem in the world and just smile about everything.”