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Thomas Welsh to return to UCLA basketball after declaring for NBA draft


Center Thomas Welsh declared early for the 2017 draft but has decided to forgo the NBA for his senior year. The junior nearly averaged a double-double with 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Center Thomas Welsh declared early for the 2017 draft but has decided to forgo the NBA for his senior year. The junior nearly averaged a double-double with 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)


This post was updated May 23 at 4:45 p.m.

Five UCLA basketball players declared early for the NBA draft.

Of the five, two will now return for another season in Westwood.

Junior center Thomas Welsh, who declared for the draft without an agent in early April, announced online that he will be back for his senior year. Teammate Aaron Holiday will also return for his junior year, as confirmed by UCLA.

Welsh, the only returning starter from a team that reached the Sweet 16, started in 32 games for the Bruins after missing four games in December with a bruised right knee. The center averaged 10.8 points a game while leading the team in rebounds and blocked shots per game with 8.7 and 1.3 respectively.

Holiday had also declared for the NBA draft, but had not been invited to the combine.

The guard averaged 12.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in his sophomore campaign coming off the bench for UCLA. Holiday was second on the team in assists behind freshman point guard Lonzo Ball.

Welsh and Holiday will be veterans on a young UCLA basketball team that will bring in the country’s No. 3 recruiting class. Coach Steve Alford will reload with two five-star recruits in Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes along with Ball’s younger brother LiAngelo. Four-star prospects Jalen Hill, Cody Riley and Chris Smith round out Alford’s class.

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