Entering the 2014-15 season, there was a ton of optimism surrounding the UNLV Rebels. With talented freshmen like big man Goodluck Okonoboh and guard Rashad Vaughn committing to the program, and the likes of Christian Wood and San Francisco-transfer Cody Doolin also in the mix, the Rebels looked poised for a big year.
However, that was not the case. The Rebels struggled to live up to the pre-season expectations surrounding the team. Rashad Vaughn missed the last nine games due to a knee injury, and the struggles would only continue from there. The Rebels’ season ended in the quarter-finals of the Mountain West tournament, at the hands of the San Diego State Aztecs.
Despite missing the nine games due to a knee injury, Vaughn’s dreams of making the jump to the NBA wouldn’t be stopped. On Wednesday, Vaughn officially declared for the 2015 NBA Draft.
Vaughn, a 6’6”, 210-pound guard out of Minneapolis, MN, was the 19th-ranked recruit coming into the season by ESPN Recruiting Nation, and he lived up to the billing. Vaughn averaged 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game as a freshman, in just over 32 minutes of action per game.
Out of high school, Vaughn was touted as one of the top scoring guards in the country. For the majority of the 2014-15 season, he lived up to those expectations. There are questions surrounding his lack of length and overall efficiency as a shooting guard, which has affected his draft stock. He was seen as a potential late-first round selection at the start of the season, but some now project him to be a second-round choice.
One area of concern that we see is his inconsistent free throw shooting. In 2014-15, Vaughn shot 69.4% from the charity stripe, which isn’t overly good for a guard. If he can improve his free throw shooting, and become a little more efficient in terms of three point shooting (38.3%), then he should see his draft stock improve slightly.
If Vaughn does get selected in the second round of the draft, he has the potential to be one of the steals of the year. Once the draft field is finalized, expect him to go around the end of the first round, or into the start of the second round. I don’t see him falling much below the 35th selection, based on his scoring ability alone.
UNLV is still awaiting word on whether or not Christian Wood will declare for the draft, as well.