Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High senior basketball standout Cameron Welch signed a letter-of-intent to continue his education and playing career at Bethel University on Friday afternoon in the school auditorium. Pictured at the signing are: (seated, from left) Cameron’s sister Abi, Cameron Welch, Cameron’s father and former Macon County High boys head basketball coach Jason Welch, Cameron’s mother Angela, (standing) Tiger assistant coach Adam Bandy and Bethel assistant coach Jonathan Stanley.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High senior basketball standout Cameron Welch signed a letter-of-intent to continue his education and playing career at Bethel University on Friday afternoon in the school auditorium. Pictured at the signing are: (seated, from left) Cameron’s sister Abi, Cameron Welch, Cameron’s father and former Macon County High boys head basketball coach Jason Welch, Cameron’s mother Angela, (standing) Tiger assistant coach Adam Bandy and Bethel assistant coach Jonathan Stanley.

Macon County High boys basketball standout Cameron Welch signed a letter-of-intent to continue his education and playing career at Bethel University on Friday afternoon in the school auditorium.

"It felt like home," Cameron Welch said. "It was a good fit in the sense that it's small. Everyone is really friendly.

"They have a great program. Everything they do is really professional."

Welch had an offer from Cumberland University as well and received interest from Delta State (Mississippi) University and some junior colleges as well.

Welch was a three-year starter, playing for his father (head coach Jason Welch). Jason Welch recently resigned after 15 seasons at the helm of the program.

As a senior, Cameron Welch was a second-team 8-AA All-District selection. He averaged 9.8 points per game, 5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

However, the Tigers struggled to an 11-19 record.

Welch was selected to play in one of the Basketball Coaches Association of Tennessee (BCAT) All-Star games in March.

"It is a dream come true ... but it's more of a goal," Cameron Welch said. "I was never super athletic. I just worked really hard. It was a lot of hard work and dedication."

As a junior, Welch was an 8-AA Third Team All-District honoree and an 8-AA All-Defensive Team selection, averaging 7.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game and leading the team with 49 made 3-pointers. Macon County had an 18-11 record that season, but the Tigers have failed to reach the regional tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Welch was among the starting lineup during the 2016-17 season, when Macon County compiled a 29-5 record and reached the state tournament for the first time in 31 years.

Welch made 190 3-pointers over his career and had a career free-throw percentage of 71 percent.

"This is a fantastic day for us," Jason Welch said. "I'm super excited for Cameron. The hard work he's put in ... as a coach, it's been a blessing to have him. It's been a thrill as a coach. It's all those hours in the gym. I don't think I ever made him go to the gym.

"I've rebounded a lot of shots over the last four years."

The Wildcat program is under the direction of Jeff Britt, who will be entering his 20th season at the helm. He has compiled a 453-303 record.

Bethel -- which was ranked 18th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) -- reached the second round of the 82nd NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship, concluding the season with a 25-9 record (the most wins for the program under Britt).

"We're extremely excited for Cameron," Wildcat head coach Jonathan Stanley said. "He has a tremendous attitude and toughness. He has tremendous character and tremendous effort and love for the game. We are excited to have him."

Cameron Welch added, "I'm very excited. It's something I always worked for and wanted. I want to be able to compete against the best people. This helps me to have a platform to do that."