At 25 — not ready for his AARP card, but some five years older than the NBA rookie he once aspired to be — Stefan Welsh still has game. If you don't believe that, you obviously weren't at Maury High School on a Saturday afternoon in late June.
The setting, atmosphere and competition were nothing like what he saw at Arkansas, but Welsh had one of those days where it might not have mattered who was checking him. When it was over, and his team had a 133-106 win in the Hampton Roads 7 Cities Pro Am, Welsh had scored 59 points.
Thirty of those came on 3-pointers. A bunch more came on pull-ups, fade-aways, and-ones, you name it. Somewhere along the way, he might have even given that Michael Jordan "Hey, what can I say?" shrug.
"He was so hot," said James Flood, the league's CEO and operator, "condensation started forming on the floor."
"And I missed 10 free throws," Welsh added.
According to Flood, it's the most points scored in a league game since he took over in 2005. He also points out that the second half of that 48-minute game was played with a running clock. Welsh had 34 of his points in that second half.
Eight years after his final season at Woodside, and three years after leaving Arkansas, Welsh still loves the game. He's pretty much given up on The League, but there's plenty of basketball to be played around the globe. Welsh has been to Israel, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Canada and (most recently) China.
He's still single … sort of.
"I'm married to Spalding," he said, referring to the basketball manufacturer. "It's been 14 years now, and hopefully the 15th will be really special."
Coming out of Arkansas, Welsh knew his draft chances were slim. After beginning his senior year on suspension, he had returned to a diminished role. With only one start (Senior Night), he averaged 20 minutes and 5.8 points a game.
Welsh played the 2011-12 season in the NBA Development League, where he averaged 8.3 points a game for the Austin Toros. But a step up was not to be, so Welsh has spent the rest of his professional career overseas. A 6-foot-3 guard, Welsh said he averaged a double-double last season in China.
"Everybody's dream is to play in the NBA," he said. "At this point, though, it's more about money because it's a business. If I'm not going to be in the NBA, I'm going to go where I can be paid the most. It's always fun to go see other places. Some guys never get to leave their city. The ways of life and customs are real interesting to me.
"I lived in China for five weeks, and over there there's no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, none of that. Food over there is totally different than the Chinese food you get here. You might find a KFC or a McDonalds, but for me, the food was the hardest thing."
Another perk: He was something of a celebrity.
"Everybody treated us like we were Kobe or LeBron," Welsh said. "I was impressed with the competition level there. The Asian market is one of the best in international (basketball)."
Where next? That's up in the air. At the moment, Welsh is playing in the first of two Eurobasket Summer League camps in Las Vegas. The first wrapped up Wednesday; the second begins Thursday.
From all indications, things are going well in Vegas. In Tuesday night's game, he had 18 points, seven assists and five steals on the way to making the all-camp team. James Blackburn, an international scout, tweeted Wednesday that Welsh "is tough in transition (and) communicates well on defense."
Welsh is hoping to have some options come fall.
"It's going to come down to wherever my agent and financial adviser decide I need to be," he said. "I'm looking to go to Europe, somewhere like Greece or Italy or France. Somewhere a little more Americanized. But I'm going to keep playing.
"I've got 10 solid more years left and I'm trying to max out as much as I can. I definitely have the same love for the game."