05/23/18 — Vaughn eyes Blue Lights College

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Vaughn eyes Blue Lights College

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 23, 2018 8:30 AM

Thumb through past basketball scorebooks at Rosewood and you won't see too many numbers by Marquel Vaughn's name.

He came off the bench to contribute in ways that didn't appear in the post-game boxscore.

Take a look at 2017-18.

Vaughn emerged as the Eagles' top scorer and 3-point shooter, and earned the team's Most Valuable Player award. Not to mention he helped lead Rosewood to its first Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season crown in two decades.

"[Winning conference] felt good because it hadn't been done in a long time," Vaughn said. "I had to have a bigger role this year for us to win. I stepped my defense up, knew I had to hit shots and did a lot of work in the gym.

"I was more focused on the team than myself."

That unselfishness drew attention, particularly from Zach Hendricks. The second-year Blue Lights College head basketball coach contacted Vaughn through text messages.

Vaughn agreed to visit the police academy campus located in Apex. Once he worked his way around the cones and participated in shooting drills, he felt right at home.

"I really liked the way they do their workouts," said Vaughn, who officially signed Tuesday morning to play basketball next winter with the Thoroughbreds.

Blue Lights College participates in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. Hendricks' inaugural squad filed a 7-16 worksheet that included a season-ending 45-point win over SC FAM.

"Marquel did a much better job getting to the painted area this year and making the right play, whether that be taking it all the way to the basket or finding the open player," Eagles head coach Daniel Mitchell said. "His overall game improved. He's an intelligent player. I think his basketball IQ was very solid for us."

Vaughn didn't play basketball in middle school.

He started to hone his skills as a freshman.

"That's when I got serious about it," Vaughn said.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard/forward served as a role player before he flourished this season.

Vaughn averaged 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game for the Eagles. He garnered all-Carolina Conference honors.

Rosewood (17-8 overall) stumbled in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Mitchell thinks BLC could be the springboard for Vaughn to experience a positive career on the hardwood.

Vaughn's thoughts?

"I know I still need to put in a lot of work in the gym, become a better player, work on my listening skills as a person and player," said Vaughn, who plans to transfer to a Division II school once he completes his two-year commitment to BLC.

"[Coach Hendricks and I] talk about everything. He has high expectations for us as a team."

As does Vaughn.