Mark McLaughlin never did things the easy way. From his early upbringing in San Francisco the first three years of his life to his early years in the Kenmore and Bothell areas, he always kept things interesting.
“My maturation process did not begin until enrolling at Seattle University to play college basketball,” he said. “I give a lot of early credit to coach Cameron Dollar, he was a great coach and teacher, he got the ball rolling for me.”
As playing time diminished during the first year due to the production of the upper-class starters, McLaughlin began to look for other options. Enter Tacoma Community College head coach Carl Howell.
“I knew coach Howell for a long time and we stayed in touch and the opportunity for me to get a lot of playing time began to take shape,” McLaughlin said.
One of the main factors that got McLaughlin to TCC besides the opportunity for more minutes was the Titan basketball tradition. “Coach Howell talked to me about the great tradition here, and with the returning starters coming back, the recipe for success was laid out on the table.”
With a heavy concentration of Tacoma area players this past season, the Titans would roll all the way to the league title game and would claim the championship, much to the delight of McLaughlin. “I can’t say enough about the way we all bonded together and performed when we had to, I know this is an old cliché but we played together as a team and came through in the clutch.”
Always a great scorer with as soft touch behind the arc, McLaughlin developed his trademark jumper long before enrolling at Seattle University. “That was when I was a sophomore in high school, it’s my bread and butter and it keeps a lot of defenses honest.”
Not one for being a one-dimensional player, McLaughlin can beat defenders off the dribble too. “You always have to have more than one option to your game,” he added.
One day last spring, McLaughlin recalls getting a long distance call from Seattle from Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar.
“Tony Wroten and Terrance Ross had just declared for the NBA draft and coach offered me a scholarship, and I accepted on the spot,” McLaughlin said. “First we win the state JUCO title and now a major college scholarship. It’s great to be a Husky.”
And despite moving on to a new school and team next year, McLaughlin is already pretty familiar with one Husky starter. “I’ve known Abdul Gaddy for a long time,” he said of his friendship with the former Bellarmine standout point guard, “we know each other’s games pretty well.”
When asked to give credit where it is due most in his basketball career, McLaughlin reflected a little on some recent history. “I owe so much credit to coach Howell for all the facets of the game that he taught me. Everything from practicing hard to working on each facet of the game, I owe him so much and leave TCC with a big thank you.”