What a week it has been for 7-foot center Thomas Welsh of Los Angeles Loyola. On Wednesday, the UCLA-bound Welsh was selected to play in the McDonald's All American Game, quite an achievement for someone who didn't start on junior varsity as a freshman or on varsity as a sophomore.
"It was euphoric and an amazing accomplishment for an amazing young man," Coach Jamal Adams said. "T is the ultimate grinder. He shows up with a lunch pail every day."
He also has become one of the elite center prospects in California. On Friday night, with his team trailing by one point to West Hills Chaminade in the third quarter, Welsh dived for a loose ball and forced a held ball. That helped ignite a 10-0 run and sent the Cubs to a 54-41 victory in a Mission League game at Chaminade.
"That's why he's an All-American," Adams said.
Said Welsh: "It's a big game. I was trying to do everything to help the team win."
He finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds in giving Adams his 200th career coaching victory. Loyola improved to 21-1 and 7-1 in league and avenged its only defeat. Chaminade dropped to 16-4 and 4-3.
Also keying the victory was the play of point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who had seven of his 16 points in the third quarter, when Loyola surged to a 36-28 lead.
Another contributor was Stone Gettings, whose defense helped hold Chaminade's Jack Williams scoreless in the second and third quarters after he scored 11 points in the opening quarter. Williams finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds.
As for receiving a trip to Chicago on April 2 to play against the best high school players in the nation, Welsh said, "It's definitely very exciting. I just have to keep working hard and not let it get to my head."