UCLA center Thomas Welsh will wear red, white and blue this summer.
The soon-to-be sophomore made the final cut for USA Basketball’s U19 team on Wednesday, becoming one of 12 players who will represent the United States at the FIBA World Championship later this month. He is one of two centers to make the team, the other being Purdue’s five-star signee Caleb Swanigan.
Competition will be held June 27 to July 5 in Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete. The medal-round quarterfinals are on July 3, with the semifinals and finals taking place the following two days. Continue reading →
UCLA center Tony Parker backs down Long Beach State’s Eric McKnight (12) during the Bruins’ 77-63 win on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)
In his final season at UCLA, Tony Parker could be playing a new role.
Through 104 games — including 42 starts — the 6-foot-9 big man has primarily served as a true center, a rarity as stretch forwards continue to proliferate in basketball. As a senior in 2015-16, he could be playing stretches as a power forward.
“Probably so,” Parker said. “It’s one thing coach (Steve) Alford wants me to do, so I’ll do it.”
Moving the Atlanta-area native to the four would allow the Bruins to give more minutes to soon-to-be sophomore Thomas Welsh, a promising 7-footer who recently received an invite to the USA Basketball U19 training camp. Continue reading →
UCLA center Thomas Welsh is one of 24 players participating in the USA Basketball U19 training camp. He is pictured here stretches before a practice on Oct. 14, 2014, at the Student Activities Center. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff)
UCLA center Thomas Welsh could have a chance to represent his country this summer.
The 7-footer was one of 24 players picked to participate in 2015 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team training camp, which will take place June 12-26. Held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, the event will determine which 12 players are selected for the U19 national team, one that will play in Greece from June 27 to July 5.
Welsh, who will be a sophomore in the 2015-16 season, averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in his first season for the Bruins. A former McDonald’s All-American showed spurts of promise, scoring 14 points in UCLA’s season-opening 113-78 win over Montana State. In a round-of-64 upset of fifth-seeded SMU, he had six rebounds and four blocks, and was on the floor in the final minutes in place of junior Tony Parker.
Unsurprisingly for a young big man, Welsh struggled at times with foul trouble, committing 6.0 fouls per 40 minutes. The center also took 59.1 percent of his shots on 2-point jumpers, nearly double the team average.
The U19 team will be coached by Arizona’s Sean Miller. He will be assisted by his younger brother, Dayton’s Archie Miller, and Providence’s Ed Cooley.
UCLA’s Norman Powell defends Byron Wesley during the Bruins’ Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga on March 27. Powell had 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks to end his career at Houston’s NRG Stadium. (Tom Pennington/Getty)
UCLA men’s basketball held its year-end banquet last night. Here’s the list of awards the team handed out.
Norman Powell, Sr., G, 6-4, 215
John Wooden Award (most valuable player)
Kevon Looney, Fr., F, 6-9, 220
Seymour Armond Memorial Award (most valuable freshman)
Gerald A. Finerman Award (rebounding leader)
Freshman center Thomas Welsh had one of the best games of his UCLA career, notching two points, six rebounds, four blocks in a 60-59 win over SMU to start the NCAA Tournament. He also made a key steal with 24 seconds left — making it possible for Bryce Alford to heave up his final, goaltended 3-point shot.
Asked what he was thinking when Alford’s shot was in the air, Welsh laughed and said: “That’s a great question. … Bryce was on fire all day. I thought it was a great look at it. I was just stunned when the guy went up and touched the ball.”