OXFORD • The recruiting process is a little different during a pandemic.
Dimencio Vaughn last stepped on the Ole Miss campus six years ago, but Vaughn, a graduate transfer, announced his commitment on Sunday to Ole Miss.
Vaughn averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds last year at Rider University, a small private school in Lawrence, New Jersey, that competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
He made one trip to Ole Miss, but that was six years ago when he played his senior high school basketball season at Callaway in Jackson.
“The best thing we had was virtual tours,” said Vaughn, who played his first three high school seasons in New York, his hometown. “Ole Miss did a very good job of that, always face-timing me, showing me the facilities, showing me the campus, the athletic buildings, the academic building, different things like that to give me a feel for the campus and the school even though I hadn’t been there in six years. I went there when I was a senior back in 2014 in Mississippi just for a little visit and that was it.”
Even without a walk-around inside The Pavilion, he saw enough through Ole Miss marketing and through face-timing with Rebels coach Kermit Davis to choose Ole Miss over Georgia and Connecticut.
The spring signing period begins April 15.
It was a different experience for Vaughn than as a high school recruit, when he chose to attend prep school after a lack of recruiting attention.
At Rider he grew two inches to 6-foot-5 and at 220 has a build that resembles a slightly bigger version of former Ole Miss star Terence Davis.
Vaughn didn’t score only as a junior at Rider. He averaged 16.1 points as a redshirt freshman and 10.6 in a sophomore season that included an injury.
The Rebels must replace a 20-points-a-game scorer in Breein Tyree.
“I just expect to compete,” Vaughn said. “I played different levels of teams when I was at Rider. It’s not like I’ve never seen different talent before. I’m always up for the challenge.”
Vaughn said Davis told him he’ll be an important part of the plan next year.
“He was basically saying he needs me to come in and produce and help his team contend for an sec championship next year.”