Return of the Mac: MacDougall Thriving At UVU

Connor MacDougall simply can’t hide his smile. If you’re familiar with his unique journey to Utah Valley University, it’s easy to understand why.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder has been, in many ways, a basketball vagabond hopscotching from school to school dating back to his freshman season at Desert Vista High School. For one reason or another, many times out of his control, MacDougall often failed to find stability on his way to Orem, Utah.

Now that’s just a distant memory as he’s thriving on and off the court at UVU.

“It just felt right,” MacDougall said to Sports360AZ.com with a smile about his decision to sign with the WAC school after his last stop at the University of New Mexico. “Definitely my confidence has grown. Just the trust level I have with this group.”

Much of that trust was instilled by Wolverine head coach Mark Pope, a former college standout at the University of Washington and Kentucky who played seven seasons in the NBA.

“One of the things about taking hard roads is, especially for the guys who are at our place, it makes you tough,” Pope explained to Sport360AZ.com. “It gives you a quiet determination…Connor is an icon of that. It’s been extraordinary to watch him grow.” 

Said growth was punctuated last week when he earned WAC Player of the Week honors after setting a single-game school record for consecutive field goals made against Idaho State.

MacDougall’s success doesn’t comes as a surprise to one of his mentors who has helped guide the graduate transfer through some of his most trying times on and off the court as a teenager.

“Connor was just in a really bad situation,” Ortega said to Sports360AZ.com. “[Now] being at Utah Valley, where he has stability, you can see…he’s putting up unbelievable numbers. When Connor has stability, he’s one of the top players in the country. It’s just unfortunate he hasn’t had that over the last eight years.”

A big part of the stability at UVU comes from teammate and long-time friend, Jake Toolson. A former star at Highland High School, the two played club ball together. Like MacDougall, the 6-foot-5 guard is a transfer. Toolson’s college career started at nearby BYU.

“I know the type of work he puts in and I know the type of guy he is,” Toolson explained to Sports360AZ.com. “I knew he was always capable of it. I knew when C-Mac was in a good situation he could be productive.”

“C-Mac,” who scored a team-high 14 points Saturday night against CSU Bakersfield, has also found balance away from basketball in the snowy mountains of Utah.

“My life off the court is pretty easy, I have on-line classes,” he said. “It leaves a lot of time for learning and teaching off the court. It’s fun to come play every day and compete.”

Seven schools in the last eight years but it appears, one happy ending.    

 

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.