Mark McLaughlin already working to make D-I transition to Washington
Newest Husky men's basketball signee working on shot, ballhandling, working with personal trainer.
Seattle Times staff reporter
McLaughlin fileHeight, Weight: 6-6, 200
High School: Inglemoor
Previous school: Tacoma Community College
2011-12 season averages: 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.9 turnovers
Honors: NWAACC Western Region MVP
TACOMA — Mark McLaughlin laughed when talking about how his life has changed since he committed to Washington last week and signed with the Huskies on Wednesday morning.
"I've got a lot more Twitter followers," he said smiling as he sat in a Tacoma Community College office. "The Husky fans have just been great and showing me support and being behind me.
"I guess I'm the new guy that everybody wants to get to know."
Even though he grew up in Bothell, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound guard has been a mystery due in large part to a vagabond career in which he's been affiliated with eight schools in the past six years.
Washington's newest addition also has ties to three other major Division I teams in the state.
McLaughlin originally committed to Washington State in 2007. He spent two years at Seattle University, redshirting in 2009-10 and playing as a reserve in 17 games the following season. Gonzaga also recruited him this season, and the Bulldogs were among the finalists that included Oregon State and West Virginia.
"I've been getting a lot of questions lately, and people have been asking me how I fit in at Washington," said McLaughlin, who has two years of eligibility. "A lot of people have been comparing me to (former Husky) Tre Simmons.
"I'm honored that people think that because he's very good. That just makes me want to work even harder and try to live up to that comparison."
NCAA rules prohibit Lorenzo Romar from publicly commenting on recruits until he receives their signed letter of intent.
The Huskies have two scholarships remaining, and they're hoping to sign a big man before the spring signing period ends May 16.
McLaughlin helps UW's backcourt depth and he appears suited to immediately fill a role as a double-digit scorer off the bench.
Last season he averaged 27.5 points and 8.1 rebounds while leading the Titans (26-5) to a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship.
Tacoma CC coach Carl Howell noted McLaughlin had not played a full season since his junior year at Inglemoor High.
"You could say he was looking for stability, but I think what he was searching for was more of a relationship with a head coach," Howell said. "We met years ago when I was at Eastern (Washington) and he just felt there would be a strong connection there."
Howell watched McLaughlin sign with UW. Wearing a purple Washington sweatshirt inside the TCC gym, the newest Husky reflected on his well-traveled past that includes stops at Nevada, Baylor and Seattle U.
"It's different because this is the school that I've always dreamed about playing for," McLaughlin said. "It's just crazy that after everything I went through I end up at the school I always wanted to be at.
"When I put my name on the letter I was really happy and excited about it."
McLaughlin is scheduled to graduate from TCC early in June and plans to enroll in UW summer classes.
To prepare for the transition to D-I competition, he's been working daily with a personal trainer on midrange jumpers, three-point shots, improving his ball handling and finishing at the rim.
In his spare time, McLaughlin has been enjoying interacting with a throng of new followers on Twitter: @Markiemac1.
"Thank you to all of them for taking me in," he said. "Everybody has been real happy for me. It's been a great experience so far. and I've just got to keep it going."
• Terrence Ross, who declared for the NBA draft, won the team's 950 KJR Most Valuable Player award. Redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons won three awards — the Wurster Award for hustle, the Industrial Award (hardest worker) and co-recipient of the 101 Club Scholar-Athlete award.