Why landing Mark McLaughlin is important for Washington

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The incoming classes at Arizona and UCLA will receive more acclaim nationally (and regionally), and rightfully so as the Wildcats and Bruins have two of the top classes in the country.

But while he may not be the best prospect entering the Pac-12 next season, Mark McLaughlin’s decision to head to Washington is a big one given what the Huskies lose from a scoring standpoint.

The Kirkland, Washington native has been-well traveled to say the least, committing verbally to both Washington State and Nevada before heading to Baylor for a year.

From there it was off to Seattle University, where he played in 17 games and averaged 7.8 points per game before moving on to Tacoma CC.

McLaughlin led the country in scoring at Tacoma last year, averaging 28.4 points per game during the regular season.

And with Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten moving on to the professional ranks, the Huskies were in need of a scorer in the worst way.

“Mark is somebody that we have known for a long time. We have always been impressed with his ability to score, but he is a complete offensive player,” said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar in the school release.

“With what we lost this year and what we will lose next year, he will be a great addition to help offset those losses.”

What exactly do they lose? According to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics (subscription required) the Huskies lose their two most influential offensive players, with Wroten playing a role in 32.2% of their possessions and Ross second on the team at 23.4%.

Of course C.J. Wilcox returns but he’s better as a jump shooter rather than a player who can make things happen off the dribble.

Wroten (6.9 fouls drawn/40 minutes) and Ross (3.1) were their best weapons, and no perimeter player outside of Wroten was able to draw more than 3.3 fouls per game (center Aziz N’Diaye was second at 4.4).

McLaughlin’s arrival doesn’t mean that Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy, Hikeem Stewart and redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews are off the hook by any means as they all need to become more assertive offensively.

But at the very least it supplies them with some much-needed help on the perimeter, and with the level of talent in the Pac-12 being raised Washington had to address this need.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.