High school career
A native of Los Angeles, California, Vaughn attended John Muir High School in nearby Pasadena, where he maintained a 3.94 GPA in honors and AP courses, and became the best high school player in that area since former Muir and NBA standout Stacey Augmon. Vaughn excelled both on and off the court, and by his senior year was ranked as high as the #7 high school recruit in the country and the #2 point guard in the class of 1993 behind arguably the nation's top player that year, Randy Livingston. Over the course of the season, Vaughn averaged over 21 points and 19 assists per game, while also compiling six triple-doubles. Named a First-Team All-American by nearly every publication on the market, Vaughn rounded off his special season with a selection to participate in the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game where he put on a show, scoring only 6 points but amassing 13 assists (still a McDonald's record), while also thoroughly outplaying the higher-ranked Livingston once again—this time on a national stage (they had both matched up against each other in the All-Star Game of the 1992 Nike Camp), and was named co-MVP with North Carolina's Jerry Stackhouse in the process. After considering Georgetown, Indiana, UNLV, Arizona and UCLA, Vaughn decided to play for coach Roy Williams at Kansas, continuing, along with fellow recruit and college roommate Scot Pollard, the California pipeline of high school hoopsters to Lawrence, Kansas, started by former standouts Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters, and continuing in later years with Paul Pierce, and Eric Chenowith.
As a senior in high school in 1993, Vaughn was awarded the Dial Award as the nation's top male high school scholar-athlete, becoming the first basketball player ever to win that award.