He’s a fan of the coaching staff’s ability to develop players, the team-oriented basketball and the way head coach Bo Ryan and his staff simply win basketball games. Those three things are the main reasons why the 6-3, 170-pound shooter is strongly considering the program after they offered him a scholarship last week.
“I feel like the coach (Ryan) will fit me as a player,” McLaughlin told BadgerNation. “The school for academics is a really good school to go to. What they do every year going to tournament, going to the Final Four and NCAA championship this year, it’s a great school … It was cool to get that offer because they really are a big time program. I have always liked them since Devin Harris went there.”
Being recruited by associate head coach Greg Gard, McLaughlin said he’s almost positive he will take an official visit to the school in the coming months, likely when the returning players are back on campus for workouts.
“It’s about being patient,” said McLaughlin. “(Gard has) talked to me a lot about the school, about me trying to come out to take a visit out there to see their playing style and how I fit in with their players.”
Watching the Badgers on their back-to-back Final Four run also piqued McLaughlin’s interest. Averaging 24 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals his junior season, McLaughlin feels Wisconsin’s style matches his game.
“I thought they played slow, but watching them this year they actually get a lot of shots up,” he said. “They play discipline. I think a lot of people see that differently. A lot of schools on the West Coast don’t really play as disciplined as they do, so they see it as playing slower. They play at a pretty high pace and play good defense.”
Recruiting a prospect out of the West Coast is outside the norm for the Badgers, but Wisconsin was tipped off to McLaughlin by Freddie Owens, who played for UW from 2000-04 and later worked for Ryan as the school’s video coordinator.
McLaughlin was committed to Oregon State when Owens worked as an assistant coach under Craig Robinson. When Robinson was fired following the 2014 season, Owens wasn’t retained and McLaughlin de-committed, but the two family have remained close.
“We built a relationship,” said McLaughlin. “My family and I trust him.”
Rated a four-star prospect, the No.1 shooting guard on the West Coast, the No.8 SG in the country and the No.52 overall prospect by Scout.com, McLaughlin says the offers he has that he’s considering are Arizona, Oregon State, Washington and Wisconsin. He added that Stanford might offer after he takes his SAT.
McLaughlin was also previously committed to Washington, picking the Huskies – a school he said he cheered for since he was three or four – in November. Last May, with new interest picking up, McLaughlin backed off his pledge after feeling he rushed into the decision.
Described as a strong jump shooter with a sound pick-and-roll game, able to make decisions to shoot or find the open teammates, McLaughlin has no timetable for what he hopes his third and final commitment, saying his main goal this summer is improve his explosiveness on both ends of the court.
“I have a winner’s mentality,” said McLaughlin of his best attribute. “I want to win every game I go into, just compete every day and make myself better. Also being a leader for my teammates, being a vocal leader and helping my teammates get better.”
Wisconsin has one scholarship available for the 2016 recruiting class.