By Ronnie Flores, Special to BallIsLife.com
The Minnesota native and Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) standout knows his goals and has a path forged to reach them. For now, he wished fans wouldn’t stereotype his game.
When shooting guard Rashad Vaughn found out Ballislife was going to drop his next mixtape, his voice perked up after a long day of school and Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) winning its latest game to move to 6-0 on the young season.
“I should be getting out there more (for my highlights),” Vaughn said. “I look at myself as a scorer, not a shooter.”
The 6-foot-6 Vaughn has a reputation as a feathery-shooting two-guard with the size and length to play on the wing. His rep is warranted. After all, Vaughn is ranked as the nation’s best off-guard by the Hoop Scoop and Rivals.com and No. 2 at his position by most other recruiting networks.
Despite the accolades and courting by colleges such as Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, UNLV, and Minnesota, Vaughn has never been one to rest on his laurels. The Minnesota native, who previously attended Robbinsdale Cooper (New Hope, Minn.), is a consummate gym rat and has followed a scripted plan to become the best player possible.
Despite being part of a star-studded class of players from Minnesota that includes point guard Tyus Jones of Apple Valley and Reid Travis of Minnesota De La Salle, Vaughn knew he would eventually expand his horizons in hopes of maximizing his game.
“I look at it as more of a challenge than anything — playing against national competition and playing against top players everyday in practice,” Vaughn said of his decision to transfer from Robbinsdale Cooper to Findlay Prep. “I talked to my parents, my family, and we decided what was best. We came together, but really it was myself and my dad.”
Vaughn has a close-knit family: father Troy, mother Bridget and his two brothers, Troy Jr. and Cameron. Naturally, his brothers are also ball players and Rashad credits his father with introducing the game to him early in his childhood.
Vaughn understands not everyone back home was completely supportive of his decision, but he didn’t decide to leave Robbinsdale Cooper overnight and his close friends understood.
“From a basketball standpoint, some of my friends on the team will be able to shine a bit more, get more shots up,” Vaughn said. “From that standpoint, they are happy for me.
“I was thinking of leaving before my junior season and I knew I was going to leave before my senior year.”
Vaughn stated he would see a really good player at his natural position about “one in seven” games while at Robbinsdale Cooper, but acknowledged there were good teams further along in the playoffs. As a junior he averaged 28.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game and he’s off to a spectacular start for an unbeaten team that opened up the 2013-14 season ranked No. 2 in the Student Sports FAB 50.
According to Findlay Prep Associate Head Coach Andy Johnson, Vaughn is averaging 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals while shooting 59 percent from the 3-point line through six games. Vaughn is producing more than numbers, according to Johnson.
“With all new players but one, Rashad (and Kelly Oubre) are providing that senior leadership this team needs.”
Vaughn also said weighing the options of attending a program like Findlay Prep has aided in his college recruiting process.
“It’s the same process — making visits, getting to know people and coaches — and it really is helping a lot. Not only does it help me to meet people from different parts of the country, I’m now playing with players from different parts of the world.”
Vaughn feels the change and does greatly miss one aspect of being home.
“I do feel more grown up and more experienced,” Vaughn said of the process of choosing an academy-type program for his senior year and living in Las Vegas. “I have to do things like washing clothes, fold clothes and clean toilets and showers. My roommate was a bit dirty at the beginning, so I’m getting him to shower a bit more (laughs).
“The thing I miss most is home-cooked meals. Man, I haven’t had one in a long time.”
Before leaving for Findlay Prep, his family threw him and his brother Troy (now a freshman at Bethune-Cookman University) a going-away party and he was able to enjoy some home cooking. Before deciding on a college, Vaughn has some unfinished business to attend to. He wants to lead the Pilots to the FAB 50 national title and shed any labels associated with him only being a shooter.
“On the team, we all got one goal and that’s to try and to win the national title. You know, I can jump, it’s just a lot of people don’t know it so make sure it (my mix) has dunks.”
Ronnie Flores is the editor of StudentSportsBasketball.com and has covered basketball recruiting and ranked high school teams as part of the FAB 50 for over a decade. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores