This is the second University of Washington post here for a week, but this one is related to Washington State in a significant way. Back in 2007, a talent guard from Inglemoor committed to Tony Bennett and the Cougars. I remember being excited about Mark McLaughlin -- he was a four-star recruit whose ceiling seemed very high. Five years and a winding path later, McLaughlin has left the Washington men's basketball team to "pursue other opportunities."
By now I'm sure most know McLaughlin's path. He decommitted from WSU, committed to Nevada, then went to prep school after Mark Fox left the Wolfpack. After a year there, he picked Baylor, then ended up at Seattle University before playing a year at Tacoma Community College. Finally, he signed with the Huskies and enrolled at the University of Washington.
I thought Washington was a great fit for the young man -- I've still kept track of McLaughlin, and out of TCC a lot of schools were showing interest. Lorenzo Romar was a great choice as a head coach and mentor, and it looked like McLaughlin would stick there. He was in line for immediately playing time, and figured to be a pretty significant part of the Huskies rotation, as well. So it was surprising, to say the least, to see Romar announce McLaughlin had left the team.
When a player bounces around as much as McLaughlin has, it's a red flag. It's not necessarily a character red flag, though -- in fact, I know a lot of people who have been around him and/or covered him, and there's no indication he's a bad guy. He even helped Que Johnson along and was a mentor to him this past spring and summer. But, as I mentioned earlier, something just seems off.
Whatever it is, I'd encourage everyone to chill and reserve judgment, as Ryan Divish mentioned on Twitter earlier. In this case, there's enough red flags to wonder if there's more to the story than "Mark McLaughlin just bounces around from school to school."
So please, hope that he gets whatever is going on straightened out. He's got a ton of talent and, from all accounts, is a good kid who appears to be going through some tough times.