VERBAL: Bennett lands more 4-star talent

TONY BENNETT and crew set off some fireworks of their own on the nation's birthday, landing another 4-star, Top 20 position prospect. And it gets even better. He's yet another state-of-Washington talent going crimson, plus the lad is decidedly in the mold of Cougar senior-to-be Kyle Weaver - an athletic, multi-position perimeter player who can guard, slash and dazzle with his playmaking abilities.

Mark McLaughlin, the No. 17 shooting guard prospect in the country and Top-100 overall recruit from Kenmore's Inglemoor High, is headed to the Palouse.

"Tony Bennett is a really good guy who seemed like he can help me mature, as a man and as a basketball player, and maybe even help me get to the next level," McLaughlin told "Their assistant coaches are all really cool, the campus is really nice and the players are such good guys."

An AAU source told CF.C earlier that Oregon State and Nevada had offered McLaughlin (6-4, 175), with Washington, Gonzaga, Oregon and others all charging hard of late. Bennett and Washington State, however, had everything McLaughlin was looking for in a college and hoops program.

"I just liked Washington State best overall, it was everything I expected and everything that I liked," said McLaughlin.

AMONG THE BIGGEST reasons for Washington State's hoops resurgence -- the Cougs this past season earned a No. 3 seed to the Big Dance and racked up 26 wins -- was Kyle Weaver's play on both ends of the court. But finding a player who can do everything Weaver does, and does so well, is difficult to say the least -- multi-position talent is simply rare. McLaughlin, however, is in the same mold.

A multi-faceted basketballer who can play the 1, 2 and 3 spots, McLaughlin is an accomplished defender who, according to's Greg Hicks, has a solid shot with three-point range, and can also put the ball on the floor and create for himself or his teammates.

"You know how Kyle Weaver will graduate after this year? They want me to play a Kyle Weaver type role and like him, if I work hard, I might even then have a chance (the following year) to start," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin's vision and passing ability is above average, continues Hicks, and while he is very skilled, he is still growing into his body.

"When he adds weight and strength, he should be an impact player at the college level," says Hicks.

At Inglemoor his junior season, McLaughlin was No. 4 in the state in scoring (Class 4A) averaging 21.6 points per game, earning first team all-KingCo honors.

This summer, McLaughlin is playing for the Seattle Rotary Select AAU team, one of the two elite programs in the Evergreen State, according to the Seattle PI's Jon Naito, along with Friends of Hoop.

In fact, the interview was a short one as McLaughlin just touched down minutes ago in Cincinnati for an AAU tournament, traveling all day Wednesday from Seattle via Memphis and Detroit on the way to Cincy for a tourney that begins Friday. Stay tuned to CF.C as we will, as always, have more analysis, context and insight in the near future on a very big get for the Cougars.

Washington State's incoming recruiting class also includes three other Northwest products -- Michael Harthun, a 4-star sharpshooter out of Medford, Oregon, with solid ball handling skills rated the No. 22 SG in the nation, Abe Lodwick, a 6-7 power forward out of Bend, Oregon, whom's Greg Hicks calls ""one of the best-kept secrets" in all the West, and Charlie Enquist, a 6-10 skyscraper from Seattle's Kings High who can run, is still growing, and has great touch from 17-feet in plus excellent hands. In 2009, Spokane's Anthony Brown, an athletic 6-5 lefty with good hops and excellent moves in the paint out of Shadle Park will don the crimson and gray. And for the class of 2010, the Cougars already have received a verbal commitment from 14-year- old wunderkind Patrick Simon of Ephrata, Wash.

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