The Bearcats Blog Top 30 Countdown continues in it's second week of action. We have covered 30-26 last week. As is the tradition on countdowns, we are going to cover 26-21 this week. Also, it is very cleaver how I put a link on every single number and dash so someone can catch up on the countdown. If you didn't know that happened, now you do know and I'm sure you are impressed. The next man on the list could be a little controversial to some. Although he is a very recent player, he has been quickly forgotten in the grand scheme of things. But he was a great player and I think he demands on a spot on the list. That man is Deonta Vaughn.
He's excited about it.
Deonta Vaughn came to Cincinnati as a 3 star recruit from Indianapolis. No one expected him to be the star of the Bearcats a majority of his career. No one expected him to become the Bearcats all time leader in 3 pointers made. No one expected him to finish 3rd all time in points for a career. No one expected him to set the single season record for points in a season. No one expected him to become the Bearcats all time leader in assists. Deonta Vaughn came to UC in a period of darkness. His career was a beacon of light during those rough times. Even though the Bearcats weren't very good, we knew what they had a chance if Vaughn got hot. But even when he got hot, the Bearcats didn't have much of a chance.
There is no greater example of that last sentence than the 4th game of Vaughn's career. After tossing up 7, 7, and 9, Vaughn took over against Wofford. He scored 33 points on 12-24, 9-17 from 3, with 6 assists in his first career start. The only problem with that game was that Vaughn fouled with 5 seconds left in a tie game and Cincinnati lost 91-90 in one of the most embarrassing losses in UC history. Vaughn shined with a 19-7 board-5 assist performance the next game, 17-7-6-3 steals, 16-2-2 and 17-4-4-2 leading up to the Crosstown Shootout. The only win he had over Xavier, Vaughn had 24 on 9-20 shooting, with 5 rebounds. UC pulled off the 67-57 upset. Vaughn had a terrible game when UC was crushed by OSU, 5 points on 2-11, but rebounded with 25 on 10-19, with 9 assists and 6 steals in a win over NC State. Vaughn went into a 4 game funk where he scored no more than 8. UC went 1-3 in that span.
Vaughn would bounce back with 21, 13-8 assists, 12, 13-5 assists in the next 4 games, but like the previous 4, UC went 1-3 against USF, Syracuse, West Virginia and Pitt. Vaughn hit 18 his next game and improved on that with 18-6 boards-8 assists. He scored 18, 4, 22-5 steals, had 19-5 assists-4 steals and 8-6 in losses. When the Bearcats snapped their losing streak, Vaughn had 20 points on 5-15 shooting, 8-10 free throws, 6 boards and 5 assists. He ended the year with 18-4 assists against West Virginia.
Deonta Vaughn was 152-407, 37.3% from the field, 63-216, 29% from 3 and 67-89, 75% at the foul line. That averaged out to 14.5 points a game, which is the second highest average for a freshman in UC history. Vaughn pulled in 3.4 rebounds with 3.5 assists. He had 55 steals, 1.8 a game, a career high. He was named to the Big East all-rookie team.
Vaughn picked up where he left off to start his sophomore season. He had 19-4-5 in the season opener, but 7 turnovers helped the Bearcats lose to Belmont. Vaughn was awful from the field, 1-9, 5 points, but had 9 assists in UC's first win, a 66-64 affair with Western Carolina. Vaughn popped 5 3's for a 17 point outing in a loss against Bowling Green.
Deonta Vaughn would not let the Bearcats lose to Bowling Green. He played 34 minutes and made 12 of 19 shots. Of the 19, 15 were 3s. He made 9. He went 3-5 from the foul line. That added up to 36 points, a career high. UC won by 15. Vaughn had a solid 11-4-6 assists before a very solid 19 on 6-9, 5-8 from deep, 4 rebound, 9 assist game in a win. Vaughn went cold the next 3 games, 5, 8, 10, and UC lost all 3. Vaughn turned it around with a 20 point game on 8-13 with 5 boards, but UC lost to Memphis. He had 19 on 7-13, 5 3s, and 4 assists, but UC lost to NC State. Deonta scored 17 on 4-9, 8-10 FTs with 5 boards as UC beat Miami. Vaughn scored 13 against Louisville before he would explode.
The next 2 games saw Deonta Vaughn shoot 9-16 from the field. In the first game, he scored 24 against St John's in a loss. The second game, he added 7-9 from the foul line and 4 triples to score 29 in a win over Syracuse. He added 5 assists to that game. Vaughn settled for 8-15 shooting, 6-8 at the line for 25 points as the Bearcats beat Villanova. Vaughn had a rough shooting day against ND, 3-13, scored just 10 points, but with 8 assists, as UC was crushed. He used 10 free throws to score 14 in a 3 point win over Pittsburgh. Vaughn went out of his mind to keep UC in the game with UConn. He scored 34 on 10-14 shooting, 8-11 from 3. He hit all 6 from the line. But UC blew a 12 point lead in the last 6 minutes and lost. Vaughn scored 15 on a volume shooting game, 6-16, then 18 on 6-12 when UC walked into West Virginia and kicked the shit out of mustard suited Bob Huggins. Deonta had 23 on 8-17 against Marquette and 18-7 boards in a win over Rutgers. Vaughn was a non factor, 3 points, in a UC blowout win, but scored 21 of 52 Bearcat points to beat USF 52-51. Vaughn went just 4-12 for 13 points in a 20 point loss to Georgetown. He had 24-8 assists against Pitt, but UC lost. He had 13-7 assists in a loss to Providence before slumping to end the season. Vaughn was 3-12 the next two games, with 8 and 9. UC lost both. He closed the year very well. In 39 minutes against Pitt, Vaughn scored 30 on 8-25 shooting, 9-12 free throws, with 6 assists. But UC lost by 6. Vaughn scored 23 on 8-14, 5 assists against Bradley, but UC lost in whatever tournament that was.
Deonta Vaughn went 178-408, 43.6% fromthe field. He hit 97-244 from 3, 40%, and 101-128, 79% from the line. That added up to 17.3 points a game. Vaughn added 4.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1 steal to that stat line. That was good enough to get him named to the Big East's First Team. He's the only Bearcat to receive that honor.
The junior year for Deonta Vaughn started with something new, blowouts. UC won all 3 handily with Vaughn going for 12, 12-5-6 assists, and 7-4-5. He picked up the scoring the next few games. He scored 17 on 6-12, 4-8 from 3. In games against Florida State and UNLV in Vegas, Vaughn scored 16 in each, with 4 rebounds in each, but 6 assists against UNLV. UC won the UNLV game. He had 16 a third straight game in a win over UAB, with 5-5. He scored 27 against X, but on 7-20 shooting, 8-9 FTs as UC went down. After a nothing 8-4-5 game, Vaughn scored 16, with 7 boards, 6 assists and 3 steals to beat Mississippi State. He had 20-7 assists in the EKU near disaster. That was followed with 14, 4 threes, in a win over UAPB. Deonta really struggled from the field the next 2 games, both blowout losses. He was 4-12 against Memphis, but 9-10 at the line for 17 points. He had 10 assists, the only game of his career with double digit assists, but went 0-8, 0 points in the 84-50 shaming at Marquette.
Vaughn turned things around for himself with 20 points, 8-16, and 7 boards against Providence and 19, 8-15, 6 assists against UConn. The team joined him by winning the next 2 games. Games in which Vaughn went for 24 (9-15), 8 and 5, and 18-4 assists-2 steals. Vaughn had just 6 in the second PC loss, but picked it up in 2 big wins. Deonta had 23-5-5-3 against St John's and 20-5-3-3 against Georgetown. He and the team cracked against Nova, 8 points on 3-14, in a 21 point loss. They bounced back. #5 had 34 points thanks to 19-22 at the foul line in a 93-83 win over ND. He had 16-9-6 in a season sweep of Georgetown. He had 14 to finish the sweep against St John's. The Bearcats had a chance at making the NCAA tournament. Then things fell apart. Vaughn had 9-6 assists and 9-8 assists, going 6-16 the next 2 games, both losses. He had 13-5 dimes in a win vs WVU, but 11 in a big loss at Syracuse. He had 18 on 7-11 with 6 boards, but UC lost to Seton Hall. The season was ended with a 10 point loss to a DePaul team that didn't win a Big East game during the regular season. Vaughn went for 15, but at the expense of 6-21 from the field.
The final stats on the junior year of Deonta Vaughn were 155-399, 39%, from the field. He was 81-240, 34% from 3 and 97-120, 81% from the foul line. That averaged out to 15.3 points a game. He averaged a career best 4.7 assists a game, with 4 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Vaughn was named to the Big East's 3rd team.
Expectations were high for the senior year for Vaughn and the Bearcats. They landed 5 star recruit Lance Stephenson and were expected to be tough in the Big East. The team got off to a slow start with a 7 point win over Prairie View in the opener. Vaughn had 15 on 4-14 as a symbol of that. He had 13-9 assists before UC went to Maui. Deonta had a quiet opener of the Maui Invitational with 8 on 1-3 shooting. He had 16 on 5-13 and 5 assists in the win over Maryland. He went back to quiet with 8 on 3-9, but 7 boards and 6 assists in the loss to Gonzaga. Vaughn had 12-4 assists the next game, but followed that up with the second scoreless performance of his career by going 0-2 against Miami. Vaughn was not good in the Shootout, 6-19, 1-7 from 3, 13 points, but had 9 boards in the loss. He had 7 the next game and 5-5-7 assists the following game. Vaughn closed the non-con schedule with 11 points on 3-4 shooting against Winthrop.
Big East play saw Deonta step his game up. He had 17-5-5 on 6-11 shooting against UConn, 17 on 5-9 against Rutgers and 17 on 7-10 against Pitt. UC won 2 of 3. Vaughn had 9 in 10 minutes in a cupcake game, and followed with 20 on 7-13 to keep his Big East hot streak going. It ended the next game against St John's a 52-50 loss, where Vaughn had 4 points on 1-7 shooting and UC collapsed horribly down the stretch. Vaughn helped UC to a win over ND with 15 points and 7 boards. He had 20-5-4 in another UC win. He hit 4 threes for 12 points with 5 assists in a close loss at Louisville, then had 12 points with 4 assists in a close win over PC. Vaughn had 11 on 2-8 shooting, 5-5 FTs, with 6 assists in a bad loss at ND. He followed that up with 4 points on 2-10 shooting in a bad loss against Syracuse. He continued to not shoot the ball very well. 2-8, 10 points, 3-8, 14 points, 3-8, 6 points, 2-6, 6 points. UC went 2-2 in those 4 games. Vaughn started making shots again, 5-11, 15 points, 6-14, 18 points, but UC lost the next 2 games. He tried not shooting as much, 0-3, 2 points, but UC lost their 3rd straight to end the regular season. Vaughn started the Big East tournament slow, 2-8, 9 points against Rutgers, 2-9, 10 points, 4 boards against Louisville. He had a key steal in the closing seconds of the Louisville game to seal the win. Vaughn had 9 on 3-8 in the West Virginia loss.
UC went to the NIT and Deonta Vaughn came alive. He had 16 on 4-10 with 5 boards and 7 assists against Weber State. All 4 of the field goals were 3s. This was a very special night for Deonta. It was the night he got assist 505 for his career and moved into first all time for his career in assists. He also made a 3 to give him the Bearcats all time lead in 3 pointers made for a career. Vaughn needed 26 points to pass Danny Fortson to become the 3rd leading scorer in UC history against Dayton. It seemed like everyone knew this. He was 6-18, 4-15 from 3 and 12-13 from the foul line to get 28 points and pass Fortson. He threw in 4 assists and 4 steals in the final game of his Bearcat career.
Vaughn made and took a career low in field goals, 123-325, for 38%. He hit 72-213, 34% from 3 and 91-110, 83% from the stripe. He averaged a career low 11.7 points a game. He matched his career low with 3.5 assists a game, but had 3.5 boards a game and 1.2 steals. Vaughn became the second Bearcat to finish with 400 points in all 4 seasons. The Dayton game helped a lot because he finished with 409. Vaughn actually had the second most win shares of his career his senior season with 3.8. He is the only Bearcat to score 1,800 points and have 500 assists.
Why He Made the List
Deonta Vaughn's name litters the Bearcats all time leaderboard. He left the leader in minutes played, games started, as well as the categories mentioned earlier. He is in the top 10 of games played, 3rd in steals, 4th in free throw percentage and second in field goals attempted. There is nothing more Vaughn could have done offensively to be on a list for the school. He was the best player the Bearcats had for 3 seasons, and he was the second best player for one of them. Cincinnati needed someone to build around after the program was in shambles and that player was Deonta Vaughn.
Unfortunately for Deonta, he has become quickly forgotten. The Bearcats have gone to back to back NCAA tournaments without him. Another player quickly wore his number 5. He was one of the best players in the Big East as a sophomore and a damn good one as a junior, but his senior year was a disappointment. For whatever reason, he and Lance Stephenson didn't play well with each other. The 2010 season had the run in the Big East tournament, but the season overall felt like a disappointment. That disappointment and being overshadowed his final year and by the classes after him are why Deonta falls low on this list despite his great accomplishments.
What He's Doing Now
Deonta Vaughn is currently playing overseas. Most recently that was the Ukraine.