Gig Harbor (WA) Peninsula guard JaQuori McLaughlin has been on a mission during the month of July and it’s a task that has nothing to do with him earning more individual accolades or scholarships.
Simply put, the 6-3, 170-pound prospect wants to show the country that there are some pretty good basketball players in the Pacific Northwest.
“I’m just showing people what I can do, play with my team and show what we can do coming out of Washington,” McLaughlin told BadgerNation. “People really don’t respect us, so we’re coming out strong. I’m playing pretty good, equally sharing the ball, shooting, playing defense and just going hard.”
Playing for the AAU program Team Access out of Tacoma, Washington, McLaughlin has been grinding on the court while dozens of college coaches continue to track his every move. Having a strong contingent of offers, McLaughlin said Arizona, California, Gonzaga, Utah and Wisconsin are coming at him the hardest.
Badgers head coach Bo Ryan and/or associate head coach Greg Gard have been fixtures at most of McLaughlin’s AAU games throughout the month of July. Gard watched McLaughlin in the Carolinas two weeks ago and both Gard and Ryan have been courtside for his games around Las Vegas this week.
“They are after me pretty hard,” said McLaughlin. “Coach Gard and Coach Ryan are talking to me a lot.”
Wisconsin has one scholarship available for 2016 and McLaughlin has emerged as the prime target, along with another four-star point guard in Payton Pritchard (West Linn, OR). Feeling comfortable playing the point guard position, McLaughlin sees himself as a fit in UW’s offense.
“I like that structured offense (because) they work together as a team,” said McLaughlin. “(It’s a) great environment for me (and) they made the (NCAA) tournament every year.”
Having also been committed to Washington, McLaughlin is adamant that geography will not be a factor as he again looks to find his school. Since he de-committed from the Huskies in May, his recruiting process has been busy.
“It got going pretty fast,” said McLaughlin. “Pretty much the day of and the next day I was getting phone calls, people wanted to talk to me and people wanted to offer me. I felt there were a lot of schools still interested in me, so I would get more looks and offers.”
Not planning to narrow his list anytime soon, McLaughlin says he could start taking his college visits as early as next month. His main focus of the trips are to see how the players interact with the students around campus, how the students interact with the players, the campus, the facilities and if he can see himself playing with the players at the program.
More importantly, he wants to see as much as he can before deciding again.
“I want to be more patient and take all my visits,” said McLaughlin. “I want to see which school is best for me.”
Scout.com national basketball recruiting analyst Rob Harrington contributed to this report