He’s big, he’s talented, and every year he gets that much better. Which is why it makes sense that newly graduated University of Victoria basketball athlete Chris McLaughlin, all six-foot-10 of him, has signed as a pro with the Basket Swans Gmunden in the Austria A Bundesliga.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without the support from friends, family, coaches and previous teammates who have pushed me over the last five years,” McLaughlin said.
Of course McLaughlin’s parting words are modest. But his play is anything but.
In his fifth and final season with the Vikes, McLaughlin led the team to its first Canada West championship since 2006 and a fourth-place finish in the CIS Final 8 national championship for the second consecutive year.
He ended the season as a CIS First Team All-Canadian, the Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year, and as Basketball B.C.’s University Male Athlete of the Year.
Last week he was at the FISU World University Games in South Korea with the Canadian Development National Team.
McLaughlin is not alone in heading to Austria’s top pro league.
He is joined by 2014 Vikes grad Terrell Evans, who signed with the Oberwart Gunners.
In 2013-14, Evans and McLaughlin led the Vikes to the Canada West Championship finals and helped the Vikes finish fourth in the CIS Final 8. Both have been crowned UVic Male Athlete of the Year, Evans in 2014 and McLaughlin in 2015.
Evans just returned from trials in Europe where he captured the MVP title in the All In Sports Summer League.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Evans, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. “Coming to Canada was the best experience. Victoria really grounded me and I met so many great people, coaches, teammates and Vikes alumni that helped me to get to where I am today.”
“One of our goals is to prepare players to play professionally or to play on our national team,” said Vikes men’s basketball head coach Craig Beaucamp. “We are extremely proud that Terrell and Chris will be continuing their careers as professionals in Austria.”
The Austrian Basketball League (Austria A Bundesliga) is the top men’s professional basketball league in Austria and consists of 11 teams that play each other twice in the regular season.