Peninsula High School senior point guard JaQuori McLaughlin picked up a couple new offers recently from Utah and California, both Pac-12 schools.
While McLaughlin was hesitant to name a top five list, the favorites to land his services at this point seem to be Washington, Arizona, Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Stanford.
McLaughlin, ranked the No. 83 recruit in the country for the 2016 class by 247sports.com, said Arizona, Gonzaga and Wisconsin have been recruiting him the hardest. McLaughlin talked about what he liked best about a few of the schools currently recruiting him:
Washington: “I know the coaching staff really well. It’s close to home, which is obviously a good thing. I’ve been watching them since I was little.”
Gonzaga: “Their system fits me really well. They develop the talent they get and always make the (NCAA) tournament.”
Wisconsin: “Same thing. It’s a great environment and the coaching staff is good. They make the tournament every year and compete in a tough conference.”
Arizona: “They always have top-level guys on their team and they’re in the tournament every year. They call it ‘Point-guard U.’ A lot of their players go to the NBA.”
Stanford: “No one (on) the west coast can compete with their academics. That’s the big thing. Johnny Dawkins played at Duke. His experience would be great if I went there.”
While McLaughlin has previously been committed to Oregon State and Washington, two schools in the Pacific Northwest, he said staying close to home isn’t a huge factor in his decision.
“It’s cool but it won’t really give a school an edge,” McLaughlin said. “I just want the best fit for me that would help me succeed the most, help me become a good player and a good person off the court.”
The University of Wisconsin would take him the farthest from home, and to one of the most successful basketball programs in the country over the past few seasons. The Badgers reached the NCAA title game last season in Indianapolis, before eventually falling to the Duke Blue Devils, 68-63. Wisconsin finished with a 36-3 overall record. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan intends to retire after the 2015-16 season. Longtime assistant Greg Gard figures to be the most likely replacement, which McLaughlin would like to see.
“If they hire Greg Gard, I’d still be comfortable going there,” McLaughlin said. “He’s recruited me the most.”
If McLaughlin lands in Spokane, he’d join a talented Gonzaga backcourt with Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and University of Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss, who will be eligible in the 2016-17 season, which would be McLaughlin’s freshman season.
“That would be really fun,” McLaughlin said. “They play three guards at a time up there a lot; we’d all be interchangeable. Nigel would be running the show. That’d be fun to learn from him my first year and be able to take over after that.”
McLaughlin has visited Washington and Gonzaga previously, but has yet to visit Arizona, Wisconsin and Stanford. He’ll likely take several visits in August and September. McLaughlin had committed to Washington before his junior season at Peninsula began. This time around, he said he doesn’t feel the need to necessarily commit to a school before the season starts.
“I think I’m going to be patient and maybe wait till April,” he said. “I just want to be patient. If something feels right, then maybe I will, but I just want to be patient.”