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Rashad Vaughn

Bruce Bisping, Dml - Star Tribune

Ex-Cooper star Vaughn decides to stay in Las Vegas, picks UNLV

  • Article by: LUKE MEREDITH
  • Associated Press
  • February 12, 2014 - 7:49 AM

Five-star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn is headed to UNLV next season.

Vaughn announced Tuesday night on the CBS Sports Network that he is verbally committed to the Rebels. Vaughn will join Baltimore forward Dwayne Morgan and Massachusetts center Goodluck Okonoboh in one of the nation's top recruiting classes.

The 6-foot-5 Vaughn is ranked seventh nationally by recruiting publication Rivals.com, and 13th by Scout.com.

Vaughn played his first three seasons of prep ball at Robbinsdale Cooper High. He transferred to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas for his senior year and is averaging 20 points per game.

Iowa State was thought to be UNLV's main competition for Vaughn, along with North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas.

Wearing a bow tie and black vest with Las Vegas palm trees in the background, the shooting guard thanked all of the schools that recruited him before making his selection nearly three months after most top recruits.

UNLV beat out Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. The Rebels joined the recruiting process later than most. They gained interest after Vaughn left Cooper for Findlay Prep.

The Gophers were among Vaughn’s finalists, but did not make his top five.

Vaughn's commitment is a big boost to the Rebels (16-8, 7-4 MWC), who began Tuesday tied for third in the Mountain West and will likely need to get on a run to earn consideration for the upcoming NCAA tournament.

UNLV coach Dave Rice has led the Rebels to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances — and the addition of Vaughn will certainly ramp up expectations for the 2014-15 season.

"Me and Coach Rice, we kicked off a relationship from the jump, and I just liked everything he was talking about. I liked the blueprint that he set out for me," Vaughn said. "The recruiting class they've got coming in with me, I feel we can do something special next year."

Vaughn would have been the highest-ranked recruit Iowa State had landed under fourth-year coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Cyclones now have just one prospect lined up for next season in Kansas City-area point guard Clayton Custer. But the spot that Iowa State left open for Vaughn will presumably be used on either another high school prospect or a Division I transfer in the offseason.

Iowa State has proven to be as good as anyone in the country at integrating transfers, with senior star DeAndre Kane the latest example of the program's success in that area.

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