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Boys' basketball: The next 7-footer?

September 18, 2011 |  7:59 am

There's a big man on the campus of Los Angeles Loyola, and he could be a 7-footer by the time basketball season begins.

Thomas Welsh, a sophomore, said he has grown 9 inches since eighth grade, sprouting to 6 feet 11. And since he still hasn't even started to shave, he figures he has another inch or two to grow.

Even more impressive is that his basketball skills are getting better and better. After seeing him this summer and again on Saturday in a fall-league game, he has already taken a big jump, becoming a better rebounder and shot blocker and is more agile.

It means that Loyola, which has a surplus of guards but lacks a true big man, will have a big man after all.

"Always be working hard and do my best every day trying to get better," Welsh said of his strategy for improvement.

He wears size 17 shoes and just got a new bed at home that will allow him to sleep better. And when Welsh sleeps well Coach Jamal Adams will also sleep well, because a big man is just what Loyola needs to complete its team.

-- Eric Sondheimer