One mark of a good coach is the ability to implement a system that both fits the personnel and the ability to instill a sense of faith in that system among the players even if a significant piece departs.
In the Seattle University Redhawks first game in the post-Charles Garcia era, coach Cameron Dollar has demonstrated exactly what people who watched closely already knew - it wasn't their big star that led to a history-making season, but collective buy-in to Dollar's system.
And it appears that the Redhawks have not only reloaded, but done so with local talent. In their first exhibition against Pacific Lutheran University this afternoon, it was former Inglemoor High School star Mark McLaughlin who led the Redhawks to a 121-91 exhibition win over Pacific Lutheran University.
Seattle U Men’s Basketball Opens 2010-11 Season with Exhibition Victory, 121-91 - Seattle University Redhawks Athletics
Mark McLaughlin (Seattle, Wash.) shot 9-of-12 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line to lead all players with 25 points, while Alex Jones (Phoenix, Ariz.) did most of his damage from the free throw line, hitting 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe in scoring 15 points. Fredrick Wilson (Seattle, Wash.) finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals, and Gavin Gilmore (Pasco, Wash.) contributed 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
McLaughlin originally committed to Washington State, then changed his mind and signed with Nevada, then went to Baylor University before leaving last year because of a newborn son in Seattle.
Obviously, we can't take too much from an exhibition game and McLaughlin certainly won't "replace" Garcia. But the game does show one thing that was always there underlying the hype last season: at their best, what makes this team exciting is their collective commitment to Dollar's up-tempo philosophy and the discipline to execute it.