Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh are staying. First from Thomas Welsh:
Looking forward to a great year! pic.twitter.com/18eAWvjkOX— Thomas Welsh (@tomwelsh40) May 23, 2017
Welsh gives UCLA a relatively rarity today in college basketball, a talented senior leader. Welsh has been arguably the hardest working player at UCLA and he will make a great role model going forward for the younger players. This is a plus.
Aaron Holiday coming back though is a whole other level of good.
Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday coming back gives UCLA two huge veteran presences who will help immensely.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) May 23, 2017
UCLA was screwed if Holiday did not come back. There is no other way to put it. UCLA would have only one point or combo guard on the roster in Jaylen Hands. There was zero backup and only one other guard on the roster, Prince Ali. Holiday was the player UCLA absolutely had to keep to avoid next season being one injury away from a complete disaster. Now UCLA has the quickest, most athletic back court it has had since Darren Collision and Jrue Holiday.
While we have been critical of Steve Alford, he does deserve credit for his ability to maintain players. Keeping Prince Ali on the roster is another accomplishment. Alford did his job in this regard.
That said, there is still a roster management issue. Next year's UCLA team has only three guards. Alford could have a homerun week if he convinces one of the best players left to come to UCLA. That player is 6'5" shooting guard MJ Walker.
He's man among boys in his age group as he already owns a strong body and high level athleticism to match his good size for the wing. Walker is not only able to hold his own against older competition, but he's often able to impose his will physically.
Welcome back, Aaron and Thomas! Go Bruins!