Boys' basketball: Loyola's 7-foot center Thomas Welsh is getting better
It's during the state playoffs that young players start looking like veterans and begin to create excitement for next season. That's happening at Los Angeles Loyola, where 7-foot sophomore center Thomas Welsh is showing signs of his long-term potential.
He has been getting more and more playing time and producing on offense and defense. His size is starting to disrupt teams, and his improving strength is resulting in more rebounds and more baskets.
He had four points on Saturday in Loyola's 48-35 Division I Southern California regional win over Etiwanda, but he made his biggest impact on defense, doing a little intimidating. He's far from being polished, but he has improved greatly over the course of the season, and how many teams have a legitimate 7-footer who's coordinated and works hard?
"It's a process," Coach Jamal Adams said. "Big guys take a lot longer. His legs are getting stronger. He's getting better and better. He's one of the most mature and manageable kids I've coached. He wants to be great, and colleges are noticing."
And there's another Welsh coming in the fall, 6-5 freshman-to-be Henry, Thomas' brother.
Loyola has the makings of another outstanding team for next season, building around Welsh and returning guards Parker Cartwright, Trey Mason and Max Hazzard. But first the Cubs have to get past their nemesis, Mater Dei, which eliminated them from the state playoffs last season and beat them in the Southern Section 1AA semifinals this season.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Photo: Thomas Welsh, Loyola. Credit: Eric Sondheimer