Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies took the first step toward replacing NBA-bound Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Wednesday when 6-foot-6 guard Mark McLaughlin, who starred last season at Tacoma Community College, signed scholarship papers with the Huskies. McLaughlin will enroll at UW during the summer.
“It feels good to finally sign and make it official,” said McLaughlin, who had a short run at Seattle University under Cameron Dollar. “I’m ready to get started in the summer and look forward to starting my career there.”
In committing to UW, McLaughlin turned down offers from Gonzaga, West Virginia, Hawaii and Boise State, among others.
I feel like its a good fit for me. They (the Huskies) needed someone that can score, said McLaughlin, a reference to Washington’s loss of Ross and Wroten, Romar’s two leading scorers at 16.4 and 16.0 ppg, respectively, both of whom announced last week that they would leave the UW program.
McLaughlin averaged 28.4 points a game this past season at TCC, a total that led the nation’s junior college players in the nation. He shot 51 percent from the field (294-for-581) and 38 percent from 3-point range (57-for-152). He also made 207 of 248 free throws (83 percent).
Besides the scoring, McLaughlin averaged 8.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He was named NWAACC Western Region Most Valuable Player, while earning first-team NWAACC All-Tournament honors.
I feel like I have to get more efficient offensively, said after signing with UW. Its not going to be as easy to get shots off, and I have to make the ones I get. I also know I need to get in the weight room and get a lot stronger to prepare for the physical play.
McLaughlin is well traveled. He earned All-Kingco Conference first-team honors as a junior at Inglemoor High in 2007, averaging 21.3 points as a junior, that after averaging 17 points per game as a sophomore in 2005-06. McLaughlin then played for New Hampton Prep (NH) before committing to Washington State.
McLaughlin then de-committed and signed a letter of intent with the University of Nevada. But after head coach Mark Fox departed for the University of Georgia, Nevada released its committed players from their letters. McLaughlin signed with Baylor, but quit the Waco, TX., school and returned to Seattle and joined the Redhawks.
As a freshman in 2010-11, McLaughlin had his best game against Navy, scoring 13 points with 13 rebounds Nov. 21. Then he quit the Redhawks and enrolled at Tacoma Community College.
“I didn’t work hard enough at Seattle U.,” McLaughlin admitted.
We are all very happy for Mark, not only is he a great player, he is a great young man, said TCC coach Carl Howell. He will have a major impact next year as he fills a need for (coach) Lorenzo (Romar) on the wing. He had one of the greatest years ever by an NWAACC player. He led us to an NWAACC championship (25 wins) and his unselfishness made our other guys better players. It’s not often can you say a player who leads the country in scoring is that unselfish.
As for his nomadic past, McLaughlin said, “The whole experience had been very humbling. I had to grow up and learn what was important. I have a greater appreciation for the game. Im a different person. Obviously, it hasnt been the straightest path. But its brought me here. I feel this is the right place for me. Im just happy to be a Husky. Its like a dream come true.
The Huskies went 24-11, failed to make the NCAA Tournament, and lost in the semifinals of the NIT. They still have two scholarships to award and could use help on a front line that just lost 6-7 senior Darnell Gant and returns offense-challenged Aziz N’Diaye, who averaged 7.6 points per game.