PHILADELPHIA — For Rashad Vaughn, Findlay Prep’s newest star, competing against the best high school basketball players in the country is a breeze.
“Now that my transfer’s over, I’m relieved and there’s no pressure at all,” said the 6-foot-6-inch, 200-pound Minneapolis native, widely ranked as the top shooting guard in the Class of 2014. “I can just come out here, have fun and compete on the court.”
Vaughn headlined a large Las Vegas contingent invited to the Reebok Classic Breakout from Wednesday through Friday at Philadelphia University. He was the region’s only All-Star at one of the most prestigious camps on the summer recruiting circuit.
Joining him were rising seniors Diontae Jones of Clark High School, Darryl Gaynor of Palo Verde and Shaquile Carr of Canyon Springs, along with rising junior Ray Smith of Las Vegas High.
Also attending the camp, though limited to one game by summer school and a minor knee injury, was Baltimore’s Dwayne Morgan, a consensus top-45 forward. Morgan spurned local powers Georgetown and Maryland in March to sign with UNLV.
But Vaughn stole the show, particularly as the camp dawned to news of his decision to play under the national spotlight with Findlay Prep.
Vaughn played last season at his hometown Robbinsdale Cooper High, where he averaged 28.8 points and 10.2 rebounds against mostly lackluster competition.
“We’d thought about it (moving) last year,” he said. “I was going to leave, but my parents decided I should stay one more year.”
Vaughn showed at the camp that he has few peers even when playing against the nation’s best prep talent. He was his team’s primary ball-handler and facilitator, and seemed to enjoy bruising under the basket for rebounds.
“At Findlay, I think I’m going to go there and fit in well right away,” Vaughn said. “I have a really good relationship with the coaches, I know a few of the guys that are there already, and I can’t wait to come in and compete for a national championship.”
Vaughn competed at an unrivaled level Friday, scoring a game-high 33 points, including nine 3-pointers, in the All-Star Game. He was named co-Most Valuable Player.
Though none of Vaughn’s new Las Vegas brethren shone as brightly at the camp, he is keenly aware of his new city’s recent climb up the basketball ladder. Findlay product Anthony Bennett, a power forward from UNLV, was the top selection in June’s NBA Draft, and Shabazz Muhammad from Bishop Gorman and UCLA was drafted 14th.
“There’s been so much success over the past few years. I watched Shabazz come out strong,” Vaughn said. “And Bennett went No. 1. He’s a Findlay guy.
“There’s a lot of good basketball played in Vegas, and Findlay is one of the best in the country. I’m honored to be able to attend there.”
Vaughn has given no hints about where he plans to play in college. He has offers from several elite programs, including defending champion Louisville and Kansas, and won’t make a decision without his family involved.
“I’ll sit down and think about it whenever I have a chance to go home,” he said.
Word circulated at the camp that Vaughn and highly ranked point guard Josh Perkins discussed playing together in college. Perkins is transferring from Denver-area Regis Jesuit High to Huntington Prep in West Virginia — a rival of Findlay Prep — for his senior season.
With or without Perkins, Vaughn should be perfectly equipped to handle his college selection.
“Next year when I go to college, I’ll know I’ve already been through this process,” he said. “I’m all ready.”