Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 | 12:26 p.m.
Tuesday wasn’t Rashad Vaughn’s first visit to the Thomas & Mack Center, but it was the first and only official trip he’ll make there as UNLV’s top target in the class of 2014.
Vaughn, a top-10 senior guard at Findlay Prep in Henderson, was courtside for the Rebels’ Scarlet/Gray Showcase back in October. This time, he was in the stands behind one basket with his parents and Pilots coaches to watch the Rebels’ 61-59 loss to Illinois.
This was Vaughn’s second of five official visits. On Nov. 17, he was at Iowa State for the Cyclones’ upset against then-No. 7 Michigan. Cyclone fans had cutouts of Vaughn’s face and made their desire for him very much known.
“They had chants and everything,” Vaughn said at halftime Tuesday. “It was crazy.”
Things weren't quite that wild at UNLV’s game, though some students in the Rebellion did have signs saying “Rashad Vaughn to Vegas.” Because he plays so close — Findlay Prep’s home games are at the Henderson International School — UNLV fans have been able to make him feel welcome in Las Vegas on more than just this visit.
“Our last game, there were not seats left,” Vaughn said. “It was all red.”
Vaughn, listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, is down to seven schools. In addition to UNLV and Iowa State, he’s planning to take an official visit soon to North Carolina, where he nearly committed last year. The other teams in the mix for the final two visits are Kansas, Arizona, Baylor and Minnesota. Vaughn grew up in Minnesota and played there until this season, when he and mentor Pete Kaffey came to Findlay Prep. Kaffey is an assistant on the Pilots’ staff.
UNLV coach Dave Rice and assistant Todd Simon had previously visited Vaughn’s parents in Minnesota, but this gave everyone a chance to converse while walking around campus or watching the Rebels practice. Since he’s already so close to the program, Vaughn said, there hadn’t been any big revelations on his visit.
“I’ve been talking to Rice a lot, so nothing really surprising,” he said.
Vaughn said he likes UNLV’s style and has a good relationship with the coaches. Still, he plans to see what else is out there. Vaughn is expected to use all five of his NCAA-allotted official visits before making a decision in the spring.
“I have no timetable,” Vaughn said. “Whenever the school feels right.”
UNLV already has top-40 recruits Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh signed for the class of 2014. There currently isn’t a scholarship available for Vaughn or anyone else in the 2014-15 season, but two scholarship players have transferred out of the program after each of Rice’s first two seasons. It’s likely at least one or two players will do the same this year.
UNLV offers local in class of 2017
The Rebels are also working far ahead on the recruiting trail. This week, UNLV became the first school to offer a scholarship to class of 2017 Bishop Gorman guard Christian Popoola Jr. Popoola’s father, Chris, played two seasons for UNLV under Bill Bayno.