September 18, 2013 by Jacob Freedman
By Jacob Freedman
He didn’t initially expect it to be this way, but things are a lot easier now for Jordan McLaughlin. After choosing to commit to USC over UCLA, Kansas and Indiana last Wednesday, the 5-foot-11 4-star point guard from Etiwanda, Calif. can now play his senior year of high school basketball without worrying about the recruiting madness that comes with being one of the nation’s Top 50 recruits in the Class of 2014.
McLaughlin was interested in attending USC, where fellow Etiwanda High alum Byron Wesley enters his third year as a starting guard for the Trojans, before head coach Andy Enfield was hired in April. But like just as the coach’s offense revved up and down the court at Florida Gulf Coast, his hiring accelerated McLaughlin’s interest in playing at USC.
“I was considering it (USC) quite a bit,” McLaughlin said in an interview with Galen Central. “Not as much, and I wasn’t thinking of committing early. But after the changes and everything, it just kind of blew up.”
Although Enfield can’t be spotted on campus not wearing his USC jacket, it wasn’t highlights of the Cardinal and Gold that sold McLaughlin.
“He showed me highlights of his team from Florida Gulf Coast, and I just imagined myself in that point guard (Brett Comer)’s spot running the floor, setting a lot of ball screens, and being able to throw the lob and get others involved,” he said.
McLaughlin is known for being more of a scorer than Comer (8.0 PPG and 6.6 APG at FGCU in 2012-13), and the high school senior models his game off a pre-injury Derrick Rose in terms of explosiveness and work ethic. He also mentioned the influence in recruiting of USC assistants Jason Hart and Tony Bland, both whom played point guard at major programs (Syracuse and San Diego State, respectively) in their playing days.
For the next few months, expect McLaughlin to join fellow 2014 commit Malik Price-Martin as one of the biggest recruiting tools to fill out USC’s class. McLaughlin and Price-Martin have already talked multiple times in a week since the commitment, and are trying to lure 5-star small forward Stanley Johnson to join them at USC.
“We’re good friends off the court,” McLaughlin said of Johnson. “I talk to him any time really, and see what’s going through his head. We’re not bothering him too much, but just putting a bug in his ear every now and then.”
He still has his senior season to complete before heading to USC, but McLaughlin plans to be heavily involved with his Trojans, being only about 50 miles away from campus. He said that he plans to attend a few more football games, and as many home basketball games as he can.
“It’s not too far away and not too close,” he said on the school’s distance from home. “When I took my official visit to USC, it was the perfect spot for me. Everything kind of fell into place.”