UCLA basketball’s Thomas Welsh has been named as one of the ten finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given to the top center in college basketball.
Let just start off with a WELSHBOOM! That is right, UCLA basketball‘s senior center Thomas Welsh has been tearing things up on the hardwood this season and has now been recognized for his efforts as he is one of ten players named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award list.
The fourth-year player is having the best season of his career and it shows. After testing the NBA Draft last year, Welsh decided to return to the Bruins, which has been advantageous for him.
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Not only has he been able to improve on several areas of his game, but he has been one of the best big men in the conference (he was the only center named from the Pac-12). With this award nomination, it can now be said that he is indeed one of the best big men in the nation.
This season, Welsh is averaging a double-double with 12.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. Last night in UCLA’s win over Arizona, Welsh logged his 14th double-double of the season (10th most in the NCAA and 1st in the Pac-12).
At 7-feet, Welsh has continually capitalized on his size and is once again one of the best rebounders in the conference, but to understand the impact Welsh has made, you need to look at his offensive game. Two years ago, Welsh incorporated a midrange, baseline jumper to his arsenal which has been difficult for smaller defenders to contest.
Since then he has continually improved his shot, so much that he has been letting bombs fly from beyond the three-point line. Currently, Welsh is fifth on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.382) and third on the team in overall field goal percentage (.486).
Along with fellow upperclassman Aaron Holiday, Welsh has stepped up to the challenge of leading this team, and though it has been a bit bumpy, the Bruins have weathered the storm with the efforts of Welsh and Holiday.
Even if Welsh does not win, it is a huge honor for him and one that will help cement his legacy in Bruin-lore. Congratulations, Thomas!