The UCLA basketball team won’t be entirely rebuilding after all. Facing the prospect of losing its top seven scorers, two announced Tuesday they will withdraw their names from the NBA draft. Junior Thomas Welsh and sophomore Aaron Holiday will stay at UCLA for another season. The duo will provide a much-needed veteran presence, lessening the pressure on the six players in Bruins’ incoming recruiting class, which is ranked No. 2 in the country.
Thomas Welsh is returning to the UCLA basketball team for his senior season, the center announced Tuesday via his Twitter account. UCLA’s leading rebounder last season declared for the NBA draft in April and attended the NBA draft combine in Chicago from May 9 through May 14, but will withdraw his name from the draft by Wednesday’s deadline. “Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said.
Where do UCLA’s NBA prospects fit now that the draft order is in place? Tuesday’s draft lottery likely only effected one of them, but Lonzo Ball’s destination seems more certain than ever. It is nearly impossible to find a mock draft that doesn’t project the former UCLA point guard as the No. 2 pick to the Lakers. Even CBS Sports’ mock draft forecasts Ball to the Lakers despite slotting Duke’s Jason Tatum as the top pick to Boston, dropping near-consensus No.