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February 24, 2013
In the cold winters of Minneapolis, Rashad Vaughn does his best to heat things up when he hits the floor.
A 6-foot-5 shooting guard at New Hope (Minn.) Robbinsdale Cooper and a five-star prospect who ranks No. 12 overall in the class of 2014, Vaughn is in the midst of a monster junior season. He's averaging in the neighborhood of 29 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per outing as his team has won its past 14 games.
"I think the season is going good, better than last season and we're winning more," Vaughn told Rivals.com. "I really think we can go all the way. I really feel like I've stepped up as a leader.
"I'm trying to make sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to do. Whether it be In practice, in games or in the hallway at school. I'm trying to be a vocal leader and lead by example."
Pete Kaffey has had the opportunity to coach Vaughn since he was in elementary school and currently assists at Robbinsdale Cooper. When he watches Vaughn, he sees one of the best scorers in the country and a guy who is blossoming athletically.
"He can shoot it from anywhere so that's one of his biggest strengths," Kaffey said. "A couple of things that are underrated with him are his ball handling and his athleticism. This kid can jump with anybody. Like people will think it's crazy to say he is a Rodney Williams or Andrew Wiggins-type leaper but I really think he's starting to get into that territory."
Like any big-time scorer, Vaughn is also supremely confident in his ability to put the ball in the net. Off the dribble, attacking the rim, catch-and-shoot from deep, he feels comfortable doing it all.
"I feel like scoring is my strength," said Vaughn. "I feel like I can get my offense any way that I need to, scoring is like breathing to me."
Sometimes, Vaughn's confidence runs a little too high. When he's feeling it, well he's feeling it and because of that his shot selection and focus can get off track. "The area of improvement for him is his shot selection," said Kaffey. "He's so darn good he can get any shot at anytime and he knows it. He's a fan pleaser so sometimes he wants to take shots to please them and as a coach you are like dang he's throwing us under the bus with some of these shots so we're working on that."
Not so surprisingly, Vaughn has become one of the most heavily recruited players in the country. Among those who have been in to see him who have thrown their hats into the ring are Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Arkansas, Iowa State, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Maryland, Florida, Louisville, Duke and many others.
With such a big list, Vaughn and those close to him understand that they need to narrow their focus here in the near future.
"We talk about that, that time is going to come real soon," said Kaffey of Vaughn slicing his list. "But we're thinking before the summer starts, maybe in the next two weeks or so we will sit down and talk about it. Hopefully by at least in the next month Rashad will probably be thinking of cutting this list down."
Though he may cut down his list, Vaughn is in no rush to make a decision and no timeline has been set. He's not talking leaders and he's focusing on the state tournament. After that, he wants to go out and test himself against the best players in the country on the grassroots circuit.
When Vaughn does look to make a decision, he'll be looking at the usual things.
"I would say my relationship with the coach and who I would be playing with are most important," said Vaughn. "Also am I comfortable there? Who plays my style? I like to play up and down and pick and roll."