In the past two days, the Washington Huskies have watched their top two scorers Terrence Ross (16.4 ppg) and Tony Wroten (16.0 ppg) leave the program for the NBA draft. To help replace some of that scoring, they Huskies have gotten a commitment that can hopefully alleviate some of the losses.
Tacoma Community College shooting guard and Inglemoor grad Mark McLaughlin announced Wednesday morning that he has committed to the Huskies.
Washington had been recruiting McLaughlin all season in preparation for both underclassmen guards to leave and when they did, McLaughlin jumped at the opportunity.
"I feel like it's a good fit for me," he said. "They needed someone that can score."
McLaughlin can certainly do that. He averaged 27.48 points per game this season, which led all junior college players at any level. 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 this season. Besides the scoring he averaged 8.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
But he knows he will have to be even better to play well at the Pac-12 level.
"I feel like I have to get more efficient offensively," he said. "It's 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 has had a well-traveled college career. A star at Inglemoor, McLaughlin committed to Washington State before his senior season. But during his senior year, he left his high school game midseason to focus on his academics and also deciding to decommit and signed a letter of intent with Nevada. However, Nevada head coach Mark Fox left for the NCAA and a;the Wolf Pack's recruiting class out of their letters of intent. McLaughlin then signed with Baylor, but left the school in Waco, Texas after just over a month to return home to be closer to his son, Jaylen.
He then transferred to Seattle University and played in 17 games averaging 7.2 points per game for the Red Hawks before leaving the team.
McLaughlin found his way to TCC and head coach Carl Howell. McLaughlin flourished leading the Titans to an NWAACC championship.
"I've got a good relationship with Coach Howell and I feel like I can have that kind of relationship with Coach Romar," McLaughlin said.
As for his vagabond past, McLaughlin has heard the criticism. He understands the skepticism.
"The whole experience was very humbling," he said. "I had to grow-up and learn what was important. I have a greater appreciation for the game. I'm a different person."
And he feels this is the right situation.
"Obviously, it hasn't been the straightest path," he said of his college career. "But it's brought me here. I feel this is the right place for me. I'm just happy to be a Husky. It's like a dream come true."