LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men’s basketball program has received a signed National Letter of Intent from Thomas Welsh during the early signing period, it was announced today by head coach Steve Alford.
Welsh, a 7-foot, 240-pound center currently in his senior year at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, will enroll at UCLA in the fall of 2014 and will begin his freshman season in 2014-15.
“We absolutely needed size with this class,” Alford said. “To get Thomas, a local seven-footer, to help anchor us inside is tremendous. He has been extremely well coached and gets better every time we see him. He’s an outstanding student and person who truly fits our program.”
Welsh has been ranked the No. 52 player in the nation by Rivals.com and is listed No. 90, nationally, in ESPN’s list of top 100 high school seniors. Currently in his third season on the varsity squad at Loyola under head coach Jamal Adams, Welsh averaged 12.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game as a junior in 2012-13.
Last season, Welsh helped lead Loyola to a 25-8 overall record and the 2013 Mission League title before securing first-team All-Mission League honors. He shot 65 percent from the field as a junior, logging 88 blocks in 31 games.
In addition, Welsh is listed as the No. 10 player in the country at his position and the No. 7 overall player in the state of California by ESPN.com. He has also competed for the Los Angeles Rockfish AAU team.
Loyola High School also produced former UCLA standout Toby Bailey, a four-year letterwinner who led the Bruins to the 1995 NCAA Championship during his freshman season.
Welsh joins high school seniors Kevon Looney, a 6-foot-9 forward from Milwaukee, Wis., and Gyorgy Goloman, a 6-foot-10 forward from Szombathely, Hungary, in UCLA’s incoming class next season.