Rashad Vaughn, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard and the 7th ranked recruit by Rivals, is staying in Nevada where he's played this season at hoops powerhouse Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV), choosing UNLV over previously thought to be favored Iowa State, according to several sources, including Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog and Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune, with Cyclone assistant Matt Abdelmassih confirming the news (rather dramatically) via his Twitter account.
Sorry #cyclONEnation u deserve the best. Gave it everything. So much to be excited about 4 this program. Future is bright. Work wont stop— Matt Abdelmassih (@mabde33) February 11, 2014
The moment you feel like you cant breath after you been repeatedly punched in the stomach is exactly how I feel #ontothenext— Matt Abdelmassih (@mabde33) February 11, 2014
The Cyclones were overwhelmingly favored to be Vaughn's choice by most recruiting experts even as recently as a week ago, but things seemed to have changed, with many feeling that UNLV finally swayed him with his newly discovered ties to the Las Vegas area. It appears Rashad was drawn in by the fact that NBA players regularly train in Las Vegas in the offseason, and have put a #1 pick into the NBA as recently as last year in Anthony Bennett. His friendships with highly regarded UNLV commits Dwayne Morgan and Goodluck Okonoboh (not a made up name) likely played a factor in his decision to go with the Running Rebels as well, despite the team's down year on the court.
While ISU fans certainly would have appreciated if Rashad Vaughn would "bring his talents to Ames, Iowa", Iowa State will not be lacking in talent with the return of current contributors Georges Niang, Matt Thomas, Naz Long, Dustin Hogue and Monte Morris, as well as Marquette transfer Jameel McKay (a two-time JuCo All-American), Northern Illinois transfer Abdel Nader, and Overland Park, KS prep Clayton Custer, another Rivals Top 100 recruit. Additional reinforcements may come in the form of 6-foot-6 small forward Marvin Clark, who has the Cyclones high on his interest list, or as is always a possibility with Fred Hoiberg at the helm, a transfer.
It should be noted that as far as anyone can tell, Vaughn was honest and forthcoming at every stage of the recruitment process and there's no reason (nor is there ever) to trash the kid or scream that UNLV paid him and we didn't. Thanks for giving the Cyclones a thought, Rashad, and best of luck to you both at UNLV and in the NBA.