It’s difficult to put into words just how much my time at UCLA has meant to me. To try to capture all of the memories and experiences from these past four years and compact it into an article like this is nearly impossible. But I’ll do my best to express what this experience has meant to me.
Having grown up in Los Angeles, I knew all about UCLA. With its incredible academics, beautiful campus and awesome athletics program, UCLA has everything anyone could ask for in a university – and so much more. While it wasn’t an easy decision for me to choose where to attend college, I could not be happier to have been able to come to UCLA and be a student and a part of the men’s basketball team. Being able to wear those four letters across my chest – the four letters that so many greats have worn over the years – has been extremely humbling, and to have had the opportunity to improve in a game I love has truly been special. On top of that, being able to graduate with a degree in a field that I am interested in and to grow as a friend and a man of God is more than I could have ever asked for.
When I think back on my four years here, one moment that I know will surely stick with me forever is our Senior Night from this past season. We played Oregon at home, and it was a very nostalgic moment, considering it was my last time playing in Pauley Pavilion. It was special to share a moment with my fellow seniors on the court before the game, and to have my last game in Pauley be a win – in overtime at that – was really special. I remember looking up to the fans and our student section after the game and walking by the announcers’ table to see Bill Walton standing with his arms extended above his head and his trademark smile – you know, that ear-to-ear smile – and it was an incredible feeling to finish with a win in Pauley. It was even better to do it in front of family, friends and all the great fans. While there have been many highs and lows during my time at UCLA, I’ll always hold on to the many memories and experiences with my team and the UCLA community like this one.
If you think about your four years of college, it’s truly a remarkable time. It’s typically the first chance that young adults have to live on their own, while also being with other people just like them. You’re talking about a small pocket of time during which the only focus, day in and day out, is to improve yourself. It’s incredible to think of how much I’ve grown over my four years here, and I could not be any more thankful for everyone at UCLA and for all they have done for me in one way or another. I know I wouldn’t be nearly where I am today if it wasn’t for so many of the great people that make this university so special.
While it’s time for me to move on now, I will always hold on to the many lessons I have learned and memories I have made from my time here. I will move on knowing that I am a Bruin for life.
Welsh was a center for UCLA men’s basketball from 2014-2018.