UNLV's Rashad Vaughn to declare for NBA draft

LAS VEGAS (AP) A knee injury late in the season did not derail UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn's dream of playing in the NBA.

Despite missing nine games with a left knee injury during his freshman season, Vaughn announced on Wednesday that he's leaving the Runnin' Rebels and will declare for the NBA draft.

''My experience at UNLV has truly changed my life and helped me become a better player on the floor and a better person off of it,'' Vaughn said in a statement. ''My teammates became brothers and my coaches became family. Everybody supports each other here and there is nothing like being a Runnin' Rebel. I will always bleed Scarlet and Gray. Since being a kid, my dream has always been to play in the NBA and I have decided to take that next step.''

The 6-foot-6 guard was the marquee name in coach Dave Rice's 2014 recruiting class and lived up to the billing when he was on the court, leading the Rebels with 17.6 points per game.

Vaughn's only season in Las Vegas was cut short, though; he tore cartilage in his left knee on Feb. 10 and did not return.

Despite missing seven regular-season conference games, Vaughn was named the Mountain West's freshman of the year after reaching double figures in scoring in 21 of 23 games and shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. He has been projected as a second-round NBA draft pick.

''Rashad will always be a Runnin' Rebel,'' Rice said. ''We wish him all the best and we are cheering for him.''

UNLV is still awaiting on word on whether forward Christian Wood will return or turn pro.

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