Christian Welp, who starred under head coach Marv Harshman for the University of Washington men’s basketball team from 1984-87, has died, according to a statement released by the school, which did not provide other details. The 7-foot German, who played a key role in a pair of Pac-10 Championships, is Washington’s all-time leading scorer. He was 51.
“This is an extremely sad loss,” said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. “Christian is one of the most outstanding student-athletes to have ever played at Washington. He was not only a great guy but he was a great role model and father and we will miss him dearly.”
Welp scored 2,073 points during his Husky career, eclipsing a 34-year-old record held by Bob Houbregs (1951-53). He also owns UW’s career blocks record with 186 and is in the top five in rebounds (995, fourth) and field goal percentage (.562, third).
Welp scored a career-high 40 points Dec. 21, 1986 against UCLA and had 35-point games against Washington State Feb. 22, 1986 and Louisiana Tech Dec. 27, 1986. He led Washington in scoring in 1986 (19.4) and 1987 (20.8), and twice led the Huskies in rebounds (1986-87) and blocked shots (1986-87).
During Welp’s career, the Huskies went 24-7 (1984), 22-10 (1985), 19-12 (1986) and 20-15 ( 1987). UW played in three NCAA Tournaments in that span and made one appearance in the NIT. In the biggest game of Welp’s career, Washington knocked off No. 15 Duke 80-78 in the regional round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament in Pullman, WA.
Welp was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1984, Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1986, and was a three-time All-Pac-10 first-team selection. Along with former UW teammate Detlef Schrempf, he represented West Germany in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2007.
Following his UW career, Welp was the 16th overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and played three seasons with the 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors before heading overseas for a successful international career, where he won nine championships in as many seasons with teams in Germany, Italy and Greece.