OFFICIAL VISIT: Welsh Slugs it Out with Bears

OFFICIAL VISIT: Welsh Slugs it Out with Bears

Thomas Welsh finally got the immersive experience he wanted this weekend, spending some quality time watching two men beat the tar out of one another with the rest of the Cal basketball team.

Thomas Welsh isn't a huge fan of boxing, but when he was invited by the California basketball team to watch the big fight on Saturday night with them in the team locker room, it was hard to say no.

"That was fun, with the team," said the four-star seven-footer. "I don't really follow boxing that much, but it was just to get together and have a good time."

Welsh and his family had already been on the Berkeley campus before, and they didn't really have many more questions to be answered about the Bears, but this weekend was Welsh's first chance to really completely immerse himself in the Cal basketball program, team and culture.

"We took the campus walk-around, met with a couple of professors and academic advisors and I got to spend a lot of time with the team," Welsh said. "The visit before was when school wasn't in session. So this time, I had the chance to meet the players and spend the time talking to them. That was a good experience. They all seemed to be really good guys, and I liked them all."

Welsh mainly hung out with the freshmen, like Roger Moute a Bidias and Kameron Rooks, as well as his player host Jordan Mathews, and Jabari Bird.

"It was a great time, and I really enjoyed spending time with the players," said Welsh, who joined the first-year players and fellow official visitor – point guard commit Ahmaad Rorie -- in two rounds of pick-up hoops.

"That was fun," said Welsh, who got to spend some open-gym time on the floor at the RSF. "It was a great experience."

The seven-footer, regrettably, did not get the chance to go up against Richard Solomon, but he did go nose-to-nose with fellow seven-footer Rooks.

"I played against him, and it was definitely a challenge," Welsh said. "He's a great player. It was a really good experience for me, and it'll help me in the future, a lot."

Getting to play both with and against his possible future teammates plays a big role in forming his final opinion about the Bears.

"It just really showed the dynamic of certain players on the team and how they support each other on the court," Welsh said. "I think that was really informative for me, and showed me a lot about how they work.

"I really enjoyed playing in the open gym with the guys. That was probably one of the highlights of the trip."

Of course, Welsh spent plenty of time with his potential future point guard Rorie, both on the court and off.

"That was great to spend time with him, too," Welsh said. "I really enjoyed it all. He's a great guy, and in the short chance I had to get to know him, I really enjoyed spending time with him."

This weekend was Welsh's first official, and his next two will be to UCLA this coming weekend, and then Colorado on Oct. 5. He's still deciding on whether he wants to take the final two, and if so, to where.

Given that this was his first visit, Welsh is "not really sure" about a grade for the trip, but he "definitely had a great time, and it was a great experience."

"I don't think there was any one thing that stood out more than the rest," Welsh said. "It was all really fun, and I really enjoyed it."

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