Sky high limit for Welsh

Thomas Welsh, a top 100 big man, will play college basketball at UCLA. Two years ago the California native didn't think that would be possible.

In the fall, Thomas Welsh, a standout at Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola, signed a Letter of Intent with UCLA.

But Welsh, nor his family, saw that coming.

Following Welsh's sophomore season Loyola coach Jamal Adams called a meeting with Welsh and his parents. Adams handed them the same recruiting handbook that he gives to all his potential Division-I players.

"I said T you need to start working on this because you're going to be a high major recruit and you're going to have a tough recruitment," Adams explained

The Welsh's reaction?

"They thought I was crazy," Adams said. "They said they'd be happy if he played at Santa Clara, which was their alma mater."

Fast forward to midway through Welsh's senior season and he's currently ranked No. 45 in the 2014 class. And having watched him twice at the Under Armour Holiday Classic last week, that ranking is admittedly too low.

"I'd love to say it's all me, but he works his tail off and he's extremely coachable," Adams told "I just think at the next level with coach Alford and his staff I think the skies the limit."

"He's one of the best human beings I've ever coached," he added. "He's extremely coachable."

Early in his career Welsh, who stands 7-feet tall, didn't change ends well and struggled to impact the game in a major way on either end of the floor.

Now, Welsh is effective as a rebounder, shot blocker and a scorer. His hands are terrific, his short and mid-range shots are consistent and impressive for a guy his size and age, plus he has tremendous touch around the basket.

"We really concentrated on first off getting him to develop some areas and some spots where he felt extremely confident," Adams explained. "There's a reason why the type of schools that recruited him, he's very smart. He gets to those spots and he keeps it real simple."

"I think the most special thing about T is his hands," he added. "I think that's his world class attribute. If there's anything, it's his hands. He catches everything. He has a deft touch and his shooting touch is bananas in terms of how soft he gets the ball up on the rim."

Welsh's progression now has him firmly in the conversation for the McDonald's All-American game. Sure he will have stiff competition to earn one of the four center spots, but, in my opinion, he's that good.

Welsh has lead Loyola to a 13-0 record, while averaging 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game.

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