UCLA lands four-star center Thomas Welsh

After a slow start, UCLA is starting to form a solid recruiting class under first-year head coach Steve Alford.

The latest addition is four-star center Thomas Welsh, a local 7-footer whose stock shot up this past summer. The Loyola High senior picked the Bruins over Stanford and Cal, and should help shore up a frontcourt that loses seniors Travis and David Wear. Continue reading

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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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