With Game 7 of the World Series and a UCLA Basketball exhibition game both being played last night, you can’t be real surprised that there was not much media focus for UCLA’s 111-80 win over Cal State LA. However, the LA Times did let Ben Bolch report on the game and his story was written for him in the first minute, Thomas Welsh was the star:
The UCLA senior center shuffled over to contest a shot and grabbed the rebound. He spotted up for a three-pointer that dropped through the net. The game was less than a minute old.
Welsh continually flashed his new and old skills during the No. 21 Bruins’ 111-80 exhibition victory over Cal State L.A. The 7-footer made 10 of 13 shots, including both of his three-pointers, on the way to 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots in only 21 minutes.
Welsh made the only three-pointer he took last season but intends to make it a regular part of his arsenal.
Of course being a reporter, he still has to get a LaVar Ball quote in every story. LaVar apparently praised the freewheeling style as he watched with his son LaMelo but added:
If you would have had Lonzo on this team,” LaVar said, referring to his oldest son who spent last season with the Bruins before being drafted by the Lakers, “they’d get 150.”
Sigh. I wish the media would ignore him but it’s not a big deal. As LaVar said the game was freewheeling as Cal State LA pressed the entire game. This led to a lot of first half turnovers and a very high total of 24 for the game but as Steve Alford explained:
“I’m really pleased with how we handled the style. The unfortunate thing is that we are not going to face this style where it’s just full fledge run and jump, either turn it over or throw it over for layups and threes. Unfortunately not a lot of half-court offense and not a lot of half-court defense that we needed because it was basically five-out motion with guards. We didn’t really get to work on pick and roll coverage either. I really liked what our guys were able to do. We talked about some adjustments at half time and I thought we had a really solid half. With those adjustments we had only given up one offensive rebound and one turnover. Those were positives. The last six or seven minutes is where we had our turnovers, but it was a 40-point game. Overall, I think we had a lot of guys do a lot of good things but as I told them there will be a much different style of play when we get to China.”
Not a lot to add to what Dimitri wrote last night, but I think a shout out and two player quotes are relevant. First, on the player that could be the sixth man and who has been kind of forgotten in the focus on the freshmen, Welsh, and Holiday; Prince Ali said:
“I’ve been sitting out for awhile, so it felt amazing, to be honest with you. Just to get back out there and play in front of these fans, it felt amazing. . . . Watching that team last year was a good learning experience because of the way they spaced the floor. I got to watch how Isaac and Bryce did things and how they spaced, how they cut. That was really big for me. I also learned how to position myself better.”
I will add Ali looked good and under control. The freshmen looked good, but were out of control last night at times.
Overall, it was a nice exhibition win. The last word goes to clearly the best player in the game last night, Thomas Welsh and what is new for him, his three point shooting:
“I’m extremely confident in it. I wasn’t expecting them, I was just trying to get open and take the best shot I can. I wasn’t focusing on that. Just focused on shooting in a good rhythm and if it goes in, it goes in and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It felt good to knock down the first two.”