USC basketball head coach Andy Enfield landed his biggest recruit yet for the Trojans on Wednesday, as highly touted point guard Jordan McLaughlin committed to USC after visiting the school last weekend.
The 6-foot, 165 lb. recruit from Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. chose USC over national powerhouses Kansas, Indiana and crosstown rival UCLA, signifying that Enfield is already putting the Trojans on the national radar before coaching his first game at Troy. It also lifted USC’s recruiting class to being ranked 16th overall and second in the Pac-12 by 247 Sports.
McLaughlin was ranked as the nation’s No. 4 point guard and No. 18 overall in the class of 2014 by ESPN, who rated him as a five-star player. Scout and Rivals both list him as a four-star player and rank him as No. 36 and No. 43, respectively, overall.
With three of USC’s guards graduating after this season, many think that McLaughlin is the guard of the future for the Trojans and their up-and-coming program.
“Jordan McLaughlin … the best prospect to sign with USC since DeMar DeRozan,” ESPN high school scout Joel Francisco said via Twitter.
One of his new teammates and future backcourt running mates didn’t waste any time in congratulating him on his commitment.
“Congrats to my little bro and future Trojan … Welcome to the family,” UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt, who will sit out the upcoming season, said via Twitter.
McLaughlin is definitely a big proponent of Enfield’s fast-tempo, NBA-style “Dunk City” offense.
“It’s really exciting and it fits my style of play,” McLaughlin told Rivals on Wednesday. “They want to get up and down [the court] and score in the first eight seconds. They set a lot of ball screens, run NBA sets, they play good defense and throw lobs.”
The signing of new assistant coach Tony Bland was another part of the program’s successful pitch to McLaughlin, who already has a relationship with Bland.
“I’ve gotten to know him really well since he was at San Diego State and I’m excited to work with him,” McLaughlin said.
Even though McLaughlin had official visits lined up for UCLA and Kansas in October, he decided to commit early. It had been rumored USC had been McLaughlin’s top choice for quite a while.
The decision is a big hit to UCLA coach Steve Alford’s recruiting class, as several sources report he was heavily pursuing McLaughlin. For that reason, McLaughlin’s commitment is sure to be extra gratifying for USC fans.
McLaughlin joins power forward Malik Price-Martin, who committed in late July, as the second four-star recruit to be committed to USC in the class of 2014. The last time the Trojans signed two four-star recruits was in 2007, when they landed Davon Jefferson and O.J. Mayo.
As he noted himself, McLaughlin’s style of play seems to resonate perfectly with Enfield’s system.
“He is very quick with a great burst off the dribble that allows him to blow by his defender with ease on offense,” Ryan MacDougall of GalenCentral.com said of McLaughlin. “Along with being a strong scorer, McLaughlin has shown consistently that he can dish out nifty assists.”
National college basketball insider Jon Rothstein of Yahoo! Sports pointed out that Enfield is building for year two of his tenure with the talented personnel he will have at his disposal in the 2014-2015 season.
“USC’s potential starting perimeter in 14-15: Jordan McLaughlin, Katin Reinhardt, Byron Wesley,” Rothstein said via Twitter.
With excitement already building around the new culture of the program, and two scholarships remaining for the 2014 recruiting class, Enfield will now turn his efforts toward another recruiting battle with Alford and UCLA — Mater Dei five-star small forward Stanley Johnson, another five-star prospect that has college coaches drooling.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 220 lb. Fullerton, Calif. native, is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in California and the No. 12 player in the country.
Johnson lists both USC and UCLA among his top choices, but hasn’t yet scheduled an official visit with either Los Angeles school. Right now he only has visits to Arizona, Kentucky and Florida on his agenda. But with the addition of McLaughlin to USC’s ranks, that might change soon.