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Vaughn picks Runnin’ Rebels 

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One more domino had to fall to make Dave Rice’s 2014 recruiting class amongst the elite.

Consider it done.

Five-star Findlay Prep guard Rashad Vaughn (No. 7 overall according to Rivals.com) announced on Tuesday that he will stay in Nevada to play his college basketball at UNLV next season.

“Me and coach Rice kicked off our relationship from the jump,” Vaughn said during his interview on CBS Sports Network. “I just liked everything he was talking about. I like the blueprint he set out for me.”

A young kid stands next to 2014 prospect Rashad Vaughn (left) during a UNLV basketball game this season. DANIEL WARD/THE REBEL YELL

A young kid stands next to 2014 prospect Rashad Vaughn (left) during a UNLV basketball game this season. DANIEL WARD/THE REBEL YELL

The 6-foot-5 Vaughn becomes the third top-30 prospect (according to Rivals.com) that Rice has been able to bring to the Runnin’ Rebels. Vaughn will join Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh at the Thomas & Mack Center in 2014.

Vaughn said that the idea of playing with Morgan and Okonoboh made the thought more enticing. Both Morgan (Baltimore) and Okonoboh (Massachusetts) are coming from the other side of the country to play under Rice next season.

“The recruiting class they have coming in with me, I feel like we can do something special next year,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn’s narrowed his list of desired teams to fi ve, but there were only two schools truly in the running: UNLV and Iowa State. The Cyclones were believed to be in the lead about a week ago, and were the fi rst team to recruit Vaughn out of Minnesota.

Hours before Vaughn went on national television to make his decision, Iowa State’s coaching staff was informed that Vaughn wouldn’t be heading to Ames, Iowa staff was informed that Vaughn wouldn’t be heading to Ames, Iowa.

That caused a firestorm among Iowa State fans, one of whom said they hope that Vaughn “breaks every bone in his body.” Perhaps the greatest disdain came from Iowa State assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih, the one who was at the head of recruiting Vaughn.

“The moment you feel like you cant breath after you been repeatedly punched in the stomach is exactly how I feel #ontothenext,” he tweeted.

Vaughn eventually felt he did what was best in his interest.

“At the end of the day, I had to do what was best for me and my family,” he said.

Once Vaughn signs his letter of intent, he’ll become the fifth Findlay Prep player that Rice has recruited in his three seasons at UNLV.

It’s been a good year for Findlay Prep. Assistant coach Todd Simon who is now a member of Rice’s coaching staff.

Anthony Bennett was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and now Vaughn comes to UNLV with all intentions of being a top prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Averaging 20 points over four rebounds and four assists this season, the McDonald’s All-American brings a scoring presence that UNLV desperately needed in the backcourt. Vaughn knows that himself, having been to a few games and practices this past year.

“I can see that they’re missing a shooter or a scorer,” Vaughn said of the current roster. “I feel like I can fit in there with my scoring ability and the things I can do on the floor.”

As for the future, having three top-40 players coming to UNLV makes this, on paper, the best team Rice has had yet. The expectations will more than likely be bigger than they’ve ever been.

Vaughn sees those high expectations, and raises some expectations of his own.

“I know with the pieces we’ve got, and the team we will have next year,” Vaughn said. “I feel like we can win a National Championship.”

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