Peninsula High School junior guard JaQuori McLaughlin committed to the University of Washington on Saturday night. The standout 6-foot-3, 170-pound point guard announced his decision in his grandpa’s Gig Harbor home in front of friends, family and teammates. He had narrowed his decision down to UW, Washington State and Arizona.
“The deciding factor was Coach (Lorenzo) Romar staying in contact with me every day,” McLaughlin said. “He has pride in me to come in and be an impact player right away.”
McLaughlin led the Class 3A South Puget Sound League as a sophomore with 19.6 points, 4.1 steals and 3.3 assists per game last season. He was a top-20 scorer in the state of Washington, and is considered by many to be the top player in the state for the 2016 class. McLaughlin is a consensus four-star recruit by ESPN, Scout and Rivals, and is a top-100 ranked player nationally by all three sites.
McLaughlin becomes Washington’s first commit for the 2016 class, following a highly touted 2015 class. Originally committed to Oregon State as a sophomore, McLaughlin reopened his commitment after the news of Craig Robinson’s firing.
McLaughlin views Washington as a program on the rise, despite a dip in success the past few seasons.
“With the class ahead of me, there’s a lot of wings, a lot of bigs that can run the floor,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll be able to dish it to them.”
Romar’s track record of talented guards (Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, etc.) and getting players to the next level played a big role in his decision.
“Just look at all the great guards that have gone to UW,” McLaughlin said. “He’s helped them succeed. He really develops his players going into the pros.”
Being close to home was also a big factor in the decision.
“I have a big family, a lot of friends and coaches,” McLaughlin said.
“I want them to be able to share the experience with me.”