Looking Ahead

One of the big stars of the Pangos event this past weekend is readying to make a Bay Area swing next weekend, including his first-ever trip to Berkeley.

As the recruiting process wears on for Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola seven-footer Thomas Welsh, the three-star center has become more and more at-ease and comfortable with the five schools who have already offered him, including California.

This past weekend at the Pangos camp in southern California, Welsh got to hear from a familiar name: Doug Gottlieb – the brother of Bears assistant (and Welsh's primary recruiter from Cal) Gregg Gottlieb.

Welsh was also a star in his own right on the hardwood, showing more and more confidence in his game, and displaying a deadly jump hook and mid-range jump shot during the two-day event.

"I thought I played well," said Welsh, who's Los Angeles Rockfish team went 4-0 over the weekend. "I thought I rebounded well, I thought I played defense well. I could definitely do better on the interior post. I don't think I got very many opportunities to make any moves in the low post, but over time, I think I can definitely improve my post position. That would be one thing, if anything, get better seal in the low post -- that's one thing I want to work on."

Over the past several months, Welsh has become more and more comfortable with Cal, and the reputation of the coaching staff, as he researches more and more just how Mike Montgomery was able to maximize the big man talent he had at his previous stop at Stanford. He's also formed a closer relationship with Gregg Gottlieb, sometimes starting the conversations himself via text.

The latest conversations have been on the topic of his upcoming unofficial visit, which will take place as part of a Bay Area swing next weekend, hitting Berkeley on June 17.

"I'm pretty excited to see all of it. I've never been to campus before, so it'll be really exciting," said Welsh, who will get his first look at the Bears' new uniforms, and the brand-new floor design at Haas Pavilion.

Welsh will get his first up-close look at the school he said is recruiting him the hardest, following a visit to Stanford for the Cardinal's team camp. The ever-analytical Welsh – who just took the SAT on Saturday and is maintaining a "B+, A- range" in the classroom – will be looking at every detail he can in Berkeley, but said that he's not rushing to any decision just yet.

"I don't think there's anything that would just win me over right away," Welsh said. "It's to take it all in, experience what it's like up there, what my daily life would be if I wound up going to Cal. It's just to get a feel for the campus."

Though Welsh maintains a good level of contact with the Bears, and said he and Cal's Gottlieb have "built a pretty good relationship," he isn't quite willing to put the Bears -- or anyone else for that matter -- out in front.

"I'm trying to take my time," Welsh said. I'm still just a junior, trying to get my grades good and trying to prove myself as a basketball player."

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