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Grad transfer Vaughn ready to step in as Ole Miss’ top scorer

By Nathanael Gabler
The Oxford Eagle

OXFORD — It’s not a normal offseason, but Ole Miss and men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis are still putting in the work and landing some of the top available talent in the nation.

Ole Miss secured a commitment last week from Dimencio Vaughn, one of the top graduate transfers on the market.

“I just felt comfortable at Ole Miss. It’s not like I hadn’t been there before,” Vaughn said. “But really I felt more comfortable with the coaching staff at Ole Miss and my position on the team there.”

Not like he hadn’t been here before?

Vaughn is from New York and previously played at Rider University in New Jersey, but he also has a Mississippi state championship ring. Although he finished his high school career at the Thurgood Marshal Academy, Vaughn spent some time at Callaway High School in Jackson and was on its 2015 MHSAA Class 5A championship team.

Despite the accolades in high school, Vaughn didn’t receive a single power five conference scholarship offer. The top school that recruited him was Cincinnati, and the Bearcats never offered a scholarship. Thus, Vaughn ended up at Rider.

Now four years after his recruitment, Vaughn said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to finally prove himself on the bigger stage.

“I’m just ready to play in a bigger league than I was the past few years,” Vaughn said. “Leadership was a big part of what I learned the past few years. But really I’m just the work guy. Work hard — you got to work harder than the others, because there’s always going to be somebody out there that’s trying to be better than you.”

Due to NCAA and SEC restrictions on recruiting during the COVID-19 outbreak, Vaughn hasn’t taken an official visit to Ole Miss. He likely won’t, either, until students and athletes are allowed to return on a full-time basis.

Instead, Davis and the Rebel basketball staff had to improvise their recruitment. Vaughn said he was given a virtual tour of the Ole Miss facilities and campus through FaceTime and other videos.

Davis’ pitch to Vaughn was pretty simple — he promised to help do anything in his power to help Vaughn get to the next level. Plus, he’d be filling a pretty vital role.

This past season, Vaughn averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, shot 48.4 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. Rider finished 18-12 overall, and 12-8 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

With Ole Miss he’ll fill the role Breein Tyree left behind as a high-scoring guard. Tyree averaged a team-high 19.7 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field.

“I’m pretty much taking (Breein) Tyree’s spot,” Vaughn said. “I’m going to prove my point and prove (Davis) right, since he’s giving me that position and that spot on this team.”