Senior Night has come, and the Bearcats have a pair of seniors to honor. I hope that you all can make it out to 5/3 Arena and pack the place as we bid farewell, at least in the regular season, to Deonta Vaughn and Steve Toyloy.
Steve Toyloy is a junior college transfer from Miami Dade Community College. Steve has averaged 4 points and 4 rebounds in his 2 Cincinnati seasons. A lot of what Toyloy does, doesn't show up on the stat sheet. He isn't the most talented player in the world, but he plays hard night in and night out. He plays good defense inside, and gets everything out of his 6'8 frame. Steve's best performance came in a 79-49 win last season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where he had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Steve also had 9 rebounds this season against Prairie View. He has only 1 double digit scoring game this year, 13 versus Texas Southern. Steve's best game of the season would probably be his 9-8 effort in a win over South Florida. Steve Toyloy has started 28 of the 50 games he's played at UC. He gave UC everything that he was able to get out of his talent the past 2 seasons, and for that, we thank him.
In this post of the Best Bearcats of the Decade, I said that Deonta Vaughn "This is the man who is mainly responsible for where UC basketball is right now" I also said that it was going to be a sad day when he walked onto to Ed Jucker Court for the final time, and it's going to be. I love Deonta Vaughn. I love his game, love his choice of colleges, love the fact that he wears my favorite number. He was a 3* recruit from Harmon Prep by way of Indianapolis. Deonta would quickly show that he was better than the star ranking, because in his fourth game as a Bearcat, he put up 33 against Wofford. Deonta averaged 14.5 points that year,14.8 in Big East play. Vaughn also averaged 3.5 assists (team leading), and 3.5 rebounds. He was first team all rookie Big East. Scottie Reynolds of Villanova, who the Cats play on Senior Day, got he honor of Rookie of the Year. His best game of his freshman year was his 25-9 assist-6 steal performance against NC State in a 80-71 win.
In his sophomore year, Deonta turned one of the best seasons in UC history. Yeah, in UC history. Deonta averaged 17.3 points, shot 44%, 39% from three, 4.2 assists, and 3 rebounds. Vaughn was named to the first team all Big East. Vaughn had 3 games of 30 +, a career high 36 in a win over Coastal Carolina, 34 in a loss to UConn, and 30 in a loss to Pittsburgh. It's tough to say what his best game of that season was. It could be the 10-14, 8-11 from 3, 6-6 at the stripe, 34 point 3 assist performance against UConn, the 19-9 assist game against SC Upstate, the 30-6 assists against Pitt, the 29-3-5 assists against Syracuse in a win, and Vaughn also hit up Pitt for 24-8. He was truly spectacular that season.
In year 3, Vaughn turned in another solid season. He put up 15 points on 39% shooting, 34% from 3, 81% from the free throw line. He lead the team with 4.7 assists a game, and had a solid 4 rebounds. Vaughn landed third team all Big East honors. Deonta started the season slow before going off for 27 against Xavier. Vaughn's best game of the season, and one of the best of his career, came against Georgetown. #5 scored 16, had 9 rebounds and 6 assists while playing 44 minutes. Vaughn also put up 24-8-5 assists in a win over Rutgers, not to mention a 16-7-6-3 steals game in a win Mississippi State. Deonta set a career high with 10 assists in the otherwise forgettable Marquette disaster. When Deonta slowed down the stretch, UC slowed down with him. A 6-21 effort against DePaul in the Big East Tournament highlights that point.
This has been a mostly down year for the senior. Deonta averaged 9 points a game non conference, although he's stepped it up to 12.5 in the Big East. Vaughn leads the team with 3.5 assists a game and has chipped in 3.6 rebounds. Vaughn is shooting 39%, 33% from deep, and 80% at the stripe. He's taken a whole lot less shots than he has in past years. He's taken 255 this season after 407, 408, and 399. He's also gotten to the free throw line much less than the past 2 seasons. Although Vaughn has taken a back seat this season, he's had a few really good games. He's scored a season high of 20 twice, with his best game a 20-5-5 effort in the USF win. He had 20 in the Seton Hall loss, he went for 17-5-5-2 steals in the first UConn meeting, 13-4-9-4 steals against Toledo, and 16-5-5 against Maryland. His 15-5-5 effort against West Virginia was solid as well.
Deonta Vaughn is going to finish in the top 4 in school history in points. He's played the most minutes, or the second most minutes in UC history. He helped turn the sinking ship known as Cincinnati basketball around. He's gotten them close to the tournament the past 2 seasons, but they couldn't get over the hump last year. Who knows about this year? I hope that the team does it for Deonta, because the man is a winner, and he should play important games in March on the biggest stage. I love Deonta Vaughn, and I will be supporting him full throttle tomorrow. I hope that you are going to as well. You may not like Mick Cronin, or are still bitter about Huggins leaving, but Deonta Vaughn has been a special player in Cincinnati history. He'll be remembered for being the star in a trash heap for 3 seasons, but he's been our star. Thank you for everything Deonta Vaughn, we will miss you.
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