USC’s Jordan McLaughlin living up to lofty expectations
Wherever Jordan McLaughlin played, Andy Enfield followed.
That was Enfield’s routine after USC hired him to coach in 2013.
McLaughlin was a flashy playmaker at Etiwanda High and became Enfield’s priority recruit on the summer-league circuit.
Enfield said at the time that he knew McLaughlin was a player he could fashion a program around.
More than four years later, McLaughlin has developed into just that.
“What he’s done here from following him around back then,” Enfield said Friday, “he’s just been spectacular.”
McLaughlin, a senior point guard, has led USC’s recent resurgence after the team endured a rocky non-conference schedule. The Trojans (14-6, 5-2 Pac-12 Conference) are on a three-game winning streak as they prepare to play Oregon State (11-7, 3-3) in Corvallis on Saturday and resembling the group that was picked among the nation’s top-10 teams during the preseason.
McLaughin is averaging 13.1 points, 7.6 assists and two steals a game while keeping turnovers to a minimum.
“He knows where his teammates are, he reads the defense, and when it’s time to shoot, he shoots,” Enfield said Friday. “But he prefers to pass the ball.”
McLaughlin scored 14 points Sunday in the USC’s first victory over Utah since 2013, then followed on Thursday with 11 points to ensure a victory and end a 14-game losing streak to Oregon. McLaughlin also had seven assists in each game.
“When you have that many assists, you’re constantly creating for your teammates,” Enfield said.
McLaughlin has transformed from a shoot-first player to a true creator.
Junior forward Chimezie Metu leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.8 points a game, and junior forward Bennie Boatwright is averaging 15.6 points.
Enfield said the entire team has benefited from McLaughlin’s development.
“Some of his passes this year,” Enfield said, “we just shake our head as a coaching staff and say ‘Wow.’ ”
AT OREGON STATE
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis.
On the air: TV: Pac-12 Network; Radio: 710.
Update: USC held off Oregon on Thursday and moved into third place in the conference standings behind Arizona and Stanford. Oregon State took down UCLA 69-63 behind sophomore forward Tres Tinkle’s 16 points, including a pair of late three-pointers. The Trojans have won three in a row against the Beavers.
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