The Kentucky Wildcats have a new addition to the basketball team.
Former UC Irvine guard Riley Welch will be a walk-on at UK for the 2019-20 college hoops season, the school announced Wednesday. He will be immediately eligible.
Welch hasn’t played Division I basketball since the 2017-18 season, where he recorded 14 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in 27 appearances. He played last season at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California.
“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be joining the greatest program in the history of college basketball,” Welch said in a press release. “There is nothing better than University of Kentucky basketball and I still can’t believe how fortunate I am to be able to learn every day from a Hall of Fame coach as well as compete against the best players in the country day in and day out.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Welch is the son of John Welch, who is an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers. John is a respected coaching veteran who’s been in the NBA since 2002, which includes stops with the Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings.
“Riley, like his father (Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach John Welch), is a true gym rat,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Riley wants to get in the gym and work, so he will be a great addition to this group. I’ve known Riley and his family for a long time. He comes from a basketball family that loves this game and loves challenges. I’m excited to have him in the program and be a part of our family.”
Originally out of Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colorado, Welch was a 2016 Chauncey Billups regional champion. Welch was a two-time all-conference and two-time All-Bergen Country player in high school. He was also a Ridgewood News All-Suburban First Team selection in 2015.
UK will now have three walk-ons for next season including Zan Payne and Brennan Canada. John Calipari typically likes having 3-4 walk-ons, but after Jonny David graduated and Brad Calipari transferred, UK has added two this offseason in Canada and Welch.
Here are some highlights of Welch in action:
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