Return to the MAAC: Vaughn to be a Bronc again

By Austin Ferguson and Shaun Chornobroff

Former Rider men’s basketball star and two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) first-team selection Dimencio Vaughn will return to Rider, transferring back to Lawrenceville after one season at Ole Miss, multiple sources with knowledge of his decision confirmed on April 12.

Vaughn, who spent four seasons at Rider from 2016-2020, entered the transfer portal after one season with the Rebels and declared for the NBA draft in March, not hiring an agent and maintaining college eligibility.

At Ole Miss, Vaughn averaged just six minutes per game and averaged 1.6 points per game, making all 16 of his appearances off the bench, despite being ranked as high as fourth in the nation’s best graduate transfers by 247 Sports after starting in 68 of his 95 career appearances at Rider.

In his time with the Broncs, Vaughn averaged 13 points per game on his way to scoring over 1,000 career points, earned two MAAC first-team selections and multiple NABC All-District team selections among a collection of accolades as one of the backbones of Rider’s last three teams, namely for the 2017-2018 Broncs, who clinched a share of that year’s regular-season title.

It appears Vaughn is already comfortable with what his role will be with Rider this upcoming season.

“[Coach Baggett] just wants me to be Dimencio,” Vaughn said of his role on the team to The Trentonian. “That role is pretty much explained.”

Vaughn’s decision to transfer back to a school he left a year prior is not unique in 2021; multiple players have done the same, including fellow former-MAAC star Kevin Marfo, who transferred to Texas A&M after leading the nation in rebounding in 2020 with Quinnipiac, only to transfer back to the Bobcats for next season.

Though the environment of Alumni Gym will be familiar for Vaughn, the roster he will be welcomed back to will not be. After recent news that guard Christian Ings is transferring to Norfolk State, Vaughn is set to only have three teammates he played with two seasons ago: junior center Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson, sophomore guard Allen Powell and redshirt sophomore forward Tyrel Bladen, none of whom started a single game alongside Vaughn when they were together.

The day after it was revealed that Vaughn would be returning to Alumni Gym, Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported that the Broncs had added Pepperdine transfer Sedrick Altman, a sophomore guard who started 22 of 26 games for Pepperdine in the 2020-21 season, averaging 8.1 points per game and shooting an efficient 50.6% from the field.

With other star conference players in the transfer portal or declared for the NBA draft, namely Siena stars Manny Camper, the defending MAAC Player of the Year; and Jalen Pickett, who won the same honor in 2020, Vaughn could be an early favorite for MAAC Player of the Year honors as he is currently in line to be the most tenured player on an otherwise young Rider team.

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