Four-star center Thomas Welsh (Los Angeles/Loyola) committed to UCLA over Stanford, California, Arizona State and USC among others.
This is a big one for new Bruins coach Steve Alford since he landed a nationally ranked prospect from his backyard in Southern California.
Why he committed: The ESPN 100 No. 90 overall player will have an opportunity to play and provide an immediate impact on the Bruins front line especially with the Wear twins being seniors this season.
What he brings: The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Welsh brings great front line size. He is long with good hands and touch in and around the lane. He is a determined rebounder and plays with great energy and urgency on both ends of the floor. Welsh has improved at a steady pace and his potential is something that has the UCLA coaching staff extremely excited about the future.
How he fits: Welsh will provide the Bruins with great size and skill to score with feel and touch with his back to the rim. Alford with have an opportunity to play inside-out through Welsh when they have to settle into a half-court offense. He will also be helpful on the glass and be a lane-clogger on defense. As Welsh adds strength and continues to develop, expect him to be more productive in a variety of important statistical areas in which he is very capable.
Who he reminds us of: Welsh reminds us of a more polished Mike Tobey, who plays at Virginia, with his comparable size, skill and rebounding.
How the class is shaping up: Welsh joins five-star combination forward Kevon Looney giving Alford his second ESPN 100 performer in the Class of 2014. Looney is athletic and versatile and more front line length is on the way in power forward Gyorgy Goloman. The Bruins have made great front-line improvements with this group in the areas of length, athletic ability, skill and versatility.