CHAMPAIGN — It seems unfitting to describe a 6-foot-8 high school basketball player as overlooked, so let’s call Centennial’s Luke Vaughn underrated.
He’s one of seven seniors on the Chargers’ state-ranked team, but he plays alongside a future Big 12 athlete (Michael Finke), a ballhandling wizard who can also score (Dedric Byrd) and a three-point marksman who on Friday drained three consecutive three-pointers in a 2-minute second-half spree (Jeffrey Lavin).
He’s the guy who pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds in a Big 12 Conference game at Combes Gym as the Chargers defeated city rival Central for the 12th time in the last 14 meetings, 70-54.
He’s the guy who got the ball at the high post and when a defender converged on him, passed off to Finke underneath to convert a layup. Three times.
What else is he to do?
“Michael, he’s Illini Nation. If I give it to him, he’ll make it,” Vaughn said. “If I take it, there’s a chance I’ll miss.”
Central gave him that opportunity.
Vaughn is the guy who got the ball at the high post and when a defender stayed to double-team Finke, drained the 15-foot shot. Two times.
“When Luke plays hard, he gives us a lot,” Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. “He’s such an added dimension, whether he’s passing or posting up.
“We have something nice here. He’s brings that physical presence.”
More than that, when he plays alongside the 6-9 Finke, Tim Lavin said, “not many teams can match up with two kids that big.”
Finke and Vaughn both finished with double-doubles to lead the Chargers. Finke scored 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Vaughn had 14 points along with his 15 rebounds. Byrd had 15 points on 7-of-11 accuracy.