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Former Rebel confidently explains why Wizards should draft him

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Former Rebel confidently explains why Wizards should draft him

Here's a tip for recent college students now seeking employment: Study up on potential employers before job interviews. The get-to-know-you stage is a two-way process.

Apparently, UNLV's Rashad Vaughn did just that before Thursday's pre-draft workout with the Washington Wizards. Based on recent projections, its apparent NBA teams are finding positives about the scoring guard during their own study sessions.

Vaughn, 18, left college after his freshman season, which actually ended for the Minnesota native in mid-February after tearing the meniscus in his left knee. The 6-foot-5 guard's scoring potential offsets his limited experience. He averaged 18.3 points while shooting 38 percent on 3-point attempts.

The mock draft circuit initially viewed Vaughn as a borderline first round selection. Upon further review, he's now considered a potential top 20 selection. As it turns out, the Wizards own the 19th pick.

"I think I can come in and fit in well," Vaughn said of possibly joining the Wizards. "I know they don't really have a backup two (guard), is that right? I think I can just come in and help with scoring off the bench and things like that."

Wing guard Bradley Beal starts for Washington. The rising star also misses games with injuries, or at least he has his first three seasons. Garrett Temple, a defensive-minded option likely entering the final year of his contract, serves as the primary backup. Overall, the team needs more perimeter production off the bench.

In other words, Vaughn's assessment of Washington's roster is fair. Told this following his media session outside the Verizon Center practice court, the teenager cracked to a reporter, "That's why they need me. Put that in the paper."

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Other teams that have taken a closer look at Vaughn during the pre-draft process include Miami, Indiana and Golden State. Apparently many like what they see at least when compared to the player they watched in college.

DraftExpress.com lead analyst Jonathan Givony slotted Vaughn 21st overall in his latest mock draft.

"At this stage in the draft, many teams simply elect to pick the highest upside player they can find in hopes of uncovering a diamond in the rough," Givony writes. "Vaughn is the second-youngest player in this class, and entered the year considered a top-10 recruit before shot-selection and chemistry issues at UNLV torpedoed his stock." 

The forecast is far sunnier these days.

"I think they're starting to see I can really shoot the ball," Vaughn explained. "A lot teams didn't really think I was athletic and I'm starting to show that. Starting to show I can make plays for my teammates. Defend well. I think that's why I'm moving up."

Of course, the parlor game known as pre-draft buzz makes any type of projections tricky, even for the players involved. Asked if he had any sense where he might land in the June 25 draft, Vaughn said, "No cause one day I ask and the next day it's different. I'll just wait until the draft."

Based on the recent uptick in his stock, Vaughn apparently won't wait as long as recently predicted.

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Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

The Washington Wizards have reportedly offered their vacant general manager position to Tim Connelly. The news was first reported by the Athletic.

Here are five things to know about him...

1. Connelly is a Baltimore native who transferred to Catholic University in D.C. during his junior year in college, graduating from there in 1999. 

2. Connelly began his NBA front office career with the Wizards, starting as an intern in 1996. He spent a decade with the organization, holding such roles as assistant video coordinator, head scout, and director of player personnel. 

3. After leaving the Wizards, Connelly spent three seasons serving as the assistant general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans. 

4. Connelly joined the Nuggets organization in 2013 as the executive vice president of basketball operations. He was promoted to President of Basketball Operations in 2017. Connelly has been part of a Denver front office that has drafted the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris over the last five years. 

5. Connelly has six siblings, including four brothers: Joe, Pat, Dan and Kevin. All four of them have also worked in basketball in some capacity, Joe, Pat, and Dan all following Tim into the NBA ranks. 

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    Wizards offer top front office job to Nuggets' Tim Connelly, per reports

    Wizards offer top front office job to Nuggets' Tim Connelly, per reports

    The Wizards may have found the successor to longtime team president Ernie Grunfeld. Per multiple reports, Washington offered the vacant head front-office job to Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

    Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reports that, while Connelly hoped for a five-year deal, he is serious about the Wizards' four-year offer. 

    The Nuggets president came to Washington to meet with owner Ted Leonsis on Friday

    A Baltimore native, Connelly worked as a member of the Wizards front office, beginning as an intern in 1996 and rising to director of player personnel in his time with the franchise.

    After a stop in New Orleans, Connelly was hired as executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the Nuggets in 2013. He ascended to president of basketball operations in his six-year tenure. 

    His notable accomplishments in Denver include drafting star big man Nikola Jokic and building a team that won 54 games in the 2018-19 season. 

    This is a developing story. Please check back with NBCSportsWashington.com for updates as available. 

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