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? Continue reading

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Prospect watch: 2014 forward Trevon Bluiett

Trevon Bluiett, 6-5, 185
Park Tudor | Spiece Indy Heat/Indiana Elite
Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars

Trevon Bluiett is a skilled swingman who boasts a diverse offensive game. He played for UCLA assistant Ed Schilling when the coach worked at Indianapolis’ Park Tudor School, and won the state championship game MVP as both a freshman and a sophomore. That feat becomes even more notable once you consider that he played with Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell during that first title run. Continue reading

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Prospect watch: 2014 point guard Robert Cartwright

Robert Cartwright, 6-2, 168
Flintridge Prep | L.A. Rockfish
Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Three stars

Robert Cartwright is a well-rounded player who projects as a good four-year point guard, but one who hasn’t drawn too much attention from high-major programs. He was impressive dishing on the break at last weekend’s Pangos Sweet 16, feeding a teammate with one particularly nice behind-the-back pass.

Cartwright isn’t an exceptional athlete and looked a little smaller than his listed 6-foot-2 height, but he works hard on the defensive end. He played through the tournament with stitches under his right eye, and also had a bruised lip by the end. He can hit his pull-up jumper consistently and isn’t afraid to take it, hitting big shots down the stretch in L.A. Rockfish’s 59-58 overtime win Sunday over the Las Vegas Prospects.

He recently picked up offers from Stanford and San Diego State, and also has schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Utah and Colorado after him. Continue reading

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Prospect watch: 2014 point guard Jordan McLaughlin

Jordan McLaughlin, 6-0, 170
Etiwanda High | Prodigy Elite
Scout: Four stars | Rivals: Four stars

Jordan McLaughlin started off slowly at this past weekend’s Pangos Sweet 16, but later attributed some of that to having just flown back from Philadelphia’s Reebok Breakout Classic. The CIF champion flashed quick hands and good leaping ability, especially considering his still-slight frame. On one play in the Pangos final, he cut off a pass easily and took it down the court for an easy dunk. McLaughlin also showed impressive body control near the rim, and was able to finish while either taking or avoiding contact.

He’ll likely continue to grow, which is a great sign coupled with his athleticism. Both Steve Alford and David Grace watched McLaughlin multiple times at the Long Beach event, as were USC’s Andy Enfield and other coaches from schools recruiting him.

Q: What parts of your game are you working on this summer? Continue reading

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