News is breaking on Twitter tonight on UCLA's third commitment for the 2014 class in Thomas Welsh.
2014 Los Angeles Loyola center Thomas Welsh has committed to #UCLA, per a source.— Josh Gershon (@JoshGershon) November 20, 2013
Big pickup for Bruins in Thomas Welsh. #UCLA landing West Coast's top center in 2014. Skilled post with great hands and hard worker..— Josh Gershon (@JoshGershon) November 20, 2013
More importantly, UCLA recruited its third big man, the biggest yet coming in at 7'. Welsh is a good recruit and the kind of player that Ben Howland shied away from in recent years, for Welsh is a lock as a four year guy.
A couple notes from the scouts review, first Rivals:
One of the most drastically improved players in the country. A big man who plays like a big man. He does his scoring in the paint with jump hooks, drop steps and offensive rebounding. Has great hands but lacks upper end athleticism.
Welsh is one of the most improved big men out west. He has great size, good length, soft hands, and he plays with efficiency at both ends. He is an instinctive rebounder despite not being a quick leaper.
And from our chrissorr who correctly predicted we would get Welsh:
I think we get Thomas Welsh, Loyala LA, a 7'0" center (Cal and Stanford are the competition). I've commented on him before-he's definitely a work in progress but seemingly a good fit, will stay four years, and won't scare off some of the big fish.
So what does this mean? Welsh is hard worker who has really improved. He has some athletic limitations but he also fits the famous Frank Layden quote, "You can't teach height." All this means that Thomas Welsh is not going to be like his classmate Kevon Looney and instantly start. He is more likely a kid that works hard and contributes more each year.
A quick list of observations of Alford's recruiting.
1. Welsh is also a first for Alford, a California kid from Loyola Los Angeles High School.
2. UCLA's recruiting class is a 6'9" Kevon Looney, 6'10" Gyrorgy Goldman, and now 7' Thomas Welsh. In other words, UCLA's 2014 class averages 6'10.33" inches.
3. I guess it is great that we have replacements bigs for the best rebounder (Kyle Anderson who is leaving) and the most experienced (the Wear twins who are graduating).
4. However, what about a point guard?
Welcome Thomas Welsh. Great to have you. Hopefully we will have a point guard to join you soon.