BYU Basketball: Alex Barcello will be point guard of future for Cougars

BYU Basketball didn’t know who their starting point guard would be once TJ Haws leaves. Could Arizona transfer Alex Barcello be the answer?

Alex Barcello has been in the transfer portal for over a month after deciding to leave Arizona. The rising junior averaged 2.9 ppg on 39% from the field in just 9.6 mpg, mainly as the third point guard on the roster. And with five-star recruit Nico Mannion coming in, Barcello elected to transfer out in hopes of finding more playing time. And according to reports, he may have found a new home with BYU Basketball.

The Cougars are in good shape for this upcoming season, led by five seniors including All-WCC players Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws, along with WAC Player of the Year and Utah Valley transfer Jake Toolson. It was six seniors until the unexpected retirement of guard Nick Emery. That left an open scholarship for new head coach Mark Pope to use and it looks like it’s going for a needed piece.

After the transfer of Jashire Hardnett, BYU didn’t have a true backup point guard for Haws for the 2019-20 season. Incoming JUCO transfer Blaze Nield and Gonzaga transfer Jessie Wade are likely to be the backups next year, although it’s more likely that Haws will be on the court for 35+ mpg and playing all 40 minutes in the high-profile contests.

The program’s roster for the 2020-21 season is starting to take up shape, with Barcello set to join Gavin Baxter and Connor Harding, along with sit-out transfers Wyatt Lowell and Richard Harward, who are both sitting out this upcoming season. The team might not take a big leap back after losing this batch of seniors as originally feared.

Grabbing Barcello is the latest in a rash of former Pac-12 players transferring to the WCC. Pepperdine has a couple already on the roster and Gonzaga has history of landing high-level talent, such as Nigel Williams-Goss from Washington and Jordan Matthews from Cal. The Cougars, due to the unique environment of the school and Honor Code, aren’t always in a position to land top-100 players.

BYU has plenty of open scholarships for the following season and needed to find a pure point guard. And with the commitment of Barcello, they can now focus on other positions that will be opened once these seniors leave. It’s been a while since the Cougars have had to look for a new point guard in nearly a decade but with this pickup, they’ll have a veteran ball handler to keep the program near the top of the WCC.