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Pro Basketball:

UNLV’s Vaughn alone in dark room when Milwaukee drafted him

The Rebels’ leading scorer last season was getting nervous before he went No. 17 and made his pro debut this week in the NBA Summer League

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Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks’ Rashad Vaughn drives between Houston Rockets’ DJ Kennedy, left, and Will Cummings, right, during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at the Cox Pavilion.

As far-fetched as it was, before the Wisconsin Senate voted on Wednesday to approve $250 million in public financing for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena there was speculation that the team could move to Las Vegas. One might think that Milwaukee first-round pick Rashad Vaughn, who just spent two years here playing at Findlay Prep and then UNLV, would love that idea, but there are several reasons the No. 17 pick in this year’s NBA draft was happy when informed the deal was done and the Bucks were staying put.

The first could be that a new pick doesn’t exactly endear himself with his new community by proclaiming he’d be happy to leave. The draft also brought the Minneapolis native closer to his original home while providing him the funds to procure a nice new one in his new home, along with a new Range Rover.

“Black on black,” Vaughn said when asked the color.

So while he’s getting used to the pro’s life off the court Vaughn spent his Summer League getting more comfortable on it, leading the Bucks in scoring for three of their five games while averaging 16.6 points and shooting 37.5 percent from the field.

The Bucks lost to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, ending their Summer League at 1-4. The Sun caught up with Vaughn after Wednesday’s victory to find out his goals for this season and how during his own party at a downtown Minneapolis hotel Vaughn found himself alone in a dark room when he was drafted:

You got into a rhythm out there and scored 23 points. How did you feel this game went for you guys?

I think this one went well. We finally got a win, we came out and competed. We just tried to pick up from the intensity we had (Tuesday) and take it to a different level. Coach told us before the game the key word is finish. Finish the court, finish the play, finish the game. We came out and just finished.

You were one of the two youngest players drafted. How do you try to grow up and mature quickly in this league?

I don’t try to rush the process. You’ve got to take it day by day and that’s what I try to do. You know, keep learning other things physically and mentally and working on my game.

Did you have any indications that Milwaukee was going to take you?

I didn’t know at all until I got called. They didn’t give any hints or anything.

What range did you think you’d get drafted in?

I had no idea. I was just waiting.

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn (1) gets off a shot while being fouled by New Mexico forward Joe Furstinger (23) during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

What was your reaction when you were picked?

I was in the bathroom. I wasn’t, like, using the bathroom. I was in the bathroom, in the dark, with the door open. I knew I wanted to come here, so once it got to 16 and I knew 17 was next I went into the bathroom and I was just listening.

Did you fear the worst, that you would get drafted much later?

I kept telling myself, this day could go really good or this day could go really bad.

Where were you gathered? Back in Minnesota?

Yeah my mom had a draft party with a lot of family. I was like, I’m not going to be able to watch the draft with everybody, it’s just too scary. So I went in the hotel room and depending on where I was drafted determined whether or I was going to go over to the draft party. If I would have went late I would have gone home.

Do you have any goals for how you want your rookie season to go?

I just want to come in and learn as much as possible. Learn from the guys ahead of me, learn from coach and keep trying to get better every day.

You haven’t been gone long but what’s it like being back in Las Vegas?

It feels good to be back here playing at UNLV. The fans are always the best.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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