Prospect watch: Thomas Welsh

Thomas Welsh, 7-0, 240
Loyola | L.A. Rockfish
Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars

Thomas Welsh isn’t a flashy player, but true 7-footers are rare at any level of basketball. The Loyola standout has boosted his stock significantly over the past few months, impressing coaches with soft hands. He’s not a dominant inside presence, but can hit a turnaround jumper or a 10-footer along the baseline. He can catch and shoot accurately from the elbow, and also showed nice form at the free-throw line. Very vocal on the defensive end, he uses his length well to grab boards and contest shots.

Welsh said he has spent this summer focusing on his footwork and quickness. A high-end projection for him could be former North Carolina All-American Eric Montross, who won an NCAA championship in 1993 and spent eight seasons in the NBA.

In addition to UCLA, Welsh is fielding offers from schools such USC, Cal, Gonzaga and Arizona State. He said he doesn’t have any visits planned yet for the near future, though he took an unofficial to Cal in June. He added that distance from home isn’t a factor.

Q: What schools are recruiting you the hardest right now?

Still the Pac-12 and WCC schools. It’s been pretty even.

Q: Do you plan on deciding by the early signing period in November?

If I fall in love with a school and I know it’s the right fit, I’ll probably make my decision. If I’m not certain, I still want to take a little more time to make sure it’s the right place for me.

Q: What are you looking for in a school?

I think the two biggest things right now are the school with the best combination of academics and athletics. A school where I could improve as a basketball player and as a student.

Q: Is playing time a consideration?

I think it’d be nice to have a chance, at least an opportunity to work my way into a lineup. I think it’d be better for me to work under a big guy, just learn some new things and have him help me along the way instead of just going out and starting somewhere. But I really haven’t thought about it too much.

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