Rebels basketball:

Class of 2014 guard says UNLV staff has made him their ‘top priority’

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV coach Dave Rice calls out a play during their Mountain West Conference tournament game against Wyoming on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 71-67.

The friendships made during the summer, when recruits travel from one state to another, often to face the same team they just played, sometimes become relationships that help in the recruiting process.

Take UNLV signee Rashad Vaughn and recruit Jordan Cornish, for example.

Vaughn, a Minnesota native who played at Findlay Prep, and Cornish, from New Orleans, started seeing a lot of each other at various camps and the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. That led to a friendship, and that relationship could lead to the pair spending at least the next year together if Cornish’s official visit to UNLV goes well this weekend.

Cornish originally committed to Tennessee last May. Then, last month, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin left for Cal.

Tennessee granted Cornish his release and he reopened his recruitment, visiting Wake Forest a couple of weeks ago and Nebraska earlier this week. The 6-foot-6 guard will announce his decision on Tuesday, and it will stream on NOLA.com at 1:15 p.m.

Cornish talked to the Sun about cold weather, getting the Martin news and UNLV’s scholarship situation:

Your flight in to Nebraska was delayed by snow. Were you expecting something like that in May?

Not at all. That was crazy. Being from New Orleans, you don’t see cold weather at all.

Did that impact your visit at all?

No, it’s just weird for it to be snowing and to be cold in the middle of May. It was a really nice visit, though.

What were some of your takeaways from the trip?

When you think about Nebraska, you think about football. Everybody does. But you go up there and you see what they have to offer for basketball, and it’s like, "Whoa." I know that they had a really great year. They’re a team on the rise.

How did you find out your new coach was leaving?

I found out like everybody else. I was in the middle of school and one of my friends, he had the ESPN ticker going on his phone and it scrolled across the bottom. I thought he was just playing but my mom texted me and asked, "Did you see?" I kind of thought he was leaving for Marquette before that, so I wasn’t surprised. I understand how they treated him at Tennessee, so I get it. I would have done the same thing if I were him.

What interests you about UNLV?

The storied tradition that UNLV has is amazing. And me and Rashad Vaughn, we’re really, really close friends. When UNLV offered me, Rashad texted me saying we were talking about this during the summertime and that we could play together.

UNLV’s national championship was about six years before you were born. Does their name still mean something to kids your age?

Definitely. When people think about UNLV, they think about basketball. They’ve had a few tough years, but they’re another team that’s on the rise. Those are really good guys. Good players want to play with other good players.

UNLV’s scholarship situation is in a state of flux. What has the coaching staff told you about how you fit into the mix?

I’m the top priority right now. That’s what they’ve told me. By the time I’m there, they should have another shakeup and things will go exactly as they want it to and I want it to.

What do you see as your role?

I feel like I can be a guy that starts from day one. Come in and make an immediate impact. That’s why they’re recruiting me; that’s what they want me to do.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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