Maret junior Austin Vereen was a mere spectator when the Frogs won their first outright Mid-Atlantic Conference title last season. Just eight games into the 2012-13 season Vereen tore ligaments in his left wrist, bringing a swift end to a promising campaign that saw him averaging 8.8 points per game.
Healthy again this year, Vereen scored in double figures in nine games entering last month’s MAC tournament final, but much like his Frogs counterparts, he struggled to put together a consistent stretch of basketball.
In the MAC final against Flint Hill, Vereen scored a game-high 17 points as No. 10 Maret repeated as MAC champions. Last week in the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament, Vereen poured in 14 points in the quarterfinals against Anacostia and he followed that with a 17-point, 13-rebound performance in a rout over Cesar Chavez Sunday.
“I’ve just been feeling it really and letting my game come to me,” Vereen said. “I’m not dominating the ball, but I’m just trying to stay aggressive.”
He’s scored in double figures in three consecutive games for the first time this season and will look to continue his hot shooting in the DCSAA final Thursday at Verizon Center when the Frogs face red-hot No. 13 Theodore Roosevelt (24-6).
“He’s just been phenomenal this year,” Maret Coach Garrett O’Donnell said of Vereen. “With his late push he’s really kind of put us over the top.”
With the Frogs’ three seniors Jalen Barnes, Steffen Davis and Drake Goddard averaging double figures, Vereen (9.5 ppg) has become another option in a balanced offensive attack. Junior Alex Peltier has also increased his offensive production with three double-figure scoring outputs in his past four games.
Vereen is receiving interest from the likes of Xavier, Gardner-Webb, Winthrop and George Mason. He didn’t compete on the summer AAU circuit last season due to the wrist injury, although he played for D.C. Assault as a sophomore. For now, his focus rests solely on Thursday’s DCSAA title game, which will be the final time he suits up with the seniors.
“I just want to reward them for their decision to come to Maret,” Vereen said, “and reward them for their hard work.”