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August 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Reaction to Mark McLaughlin leaving UW

Mark McLaughlin’s tenure at Washington lasted four months, which given his vagabond past maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
However, when he signed with the Huskies on April 11, we sat in an office at Tacoma Community College – his former school – and he told me all about how much he’s changed.
Like most I was skeptical given he had been affiliated with six schools in five years.
On the day he committed to the Huskies, he talked about maturing at TCC.
He credited Titans coach Carl Howell and his son Jaylen who turned three in April for turning his life around and making him focus on what’s important. He said Washington was his dream school and seemed genuinely committed to making a successful run at UW.
“I’ve grown up,” McLaughlin said at the time. “I’ve learned a lot about becoming a man, and men stick with their commitments. They don’t go back on them. I wouldn’t want my son to go back on something he told me.
“I know I had a rough past but all I can do is keep on persevering from what I did this year and continue to show people that I’m maturing. That’s really all I can do.”
So far McLaughlin has yet to explain why he’s walking away from his seventh school and coach Lorenzo Romar shed little light on the situation in a statement released by the school.
Without the benefit of more information, McLaughlin’s situation appears strange. Initially he said all the right things. The Washington players spoke positively about him and his future seemed bright at UW where he was slated to help fill the scoring void created when Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr. left early for the NBA.
Here’s reaction from Howell, who admittedly is one of McLaughlin’s staunchest supporters. The pair led TCC to a 26-5 record and at Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges title last season. McLaughlin averaged 28.4 points, which led the community college ranks in scoring.

(So what happened?) “I just never would have envisioned this. I’m as shocked as everyone else.”
(Why are you shocked?) “I didn’t see this coming. I thought he was going to be a very good player there. I watched him play in the (summer) league and he was as good as anyone in that league. He’s a good kid. I’m just shocked. I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say.”
(You know Mark’s history of bouncing around better than anyone. Is it just in his DNA to not stay in one place very long?) “I honestly don’t know. We didn’t have issues last year. I’m as shocked as you are about this. I really don’t know what else to say.”
(Did he seem happy at UW?) “Yeah. I thought he was happy. Change is always hard so there’s that part of it. But I didn’t realize that it was headed in this direction.”
(What did you envision for him at UW because I thought he could legitimately develop into an all-conference performer in two year?) “I would agree with that. I thought he would have a very good career there and be a double-figure scorer and play a lot of minutes whether he started or was like a sixth man type of a guy. I feel horrible for Coach Romar and his staff and his team to be counting on a guy and not have him right now. I know from experience that’s a terrible feeling to have and those guys are really good guys. I wish I knew more, but I just don’t know what the deal is.”
(What do you think Mark will do next?) “I don’t think he has many options. From what I understand he can’t go Division II. He can’t go to another Division I school. I don’t know about the NAIA schools. I just don’t know. I was just caught off guard about this. I don’t know what to say.”

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