Analysis: What Alex Barcello’s Return Means For BYU Basketball

May 28, 2021, 8:37 PM

Alex Barcello Return...

BYU basketball guard Alex Barcello announced he is returning for one more season. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Alex Barcello is running it back one more for BYU Basketball. It’s a massive boost for a BYU program that needed a star guard if they wanted to return to the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” said Alex Barcello on his decision to return. “…I’m so excited, and I’m so happy. To come back to play for BYU, which is such a great university, I couldn’t ask for much more.

“As badly as I wanted to go play pro and go overseas, there was just so much left on the table and so much unfinished business that I felt like I owe it to this university, the coaching staff that believed in me, and all the people here. It’s just amazing.”

Alex Barcello returning puts BYU as one of only four programs in the country to say that they have a returning All-American on their roster. Barcello earned Honorable Mention All-American honors.

Since Mark Pope took over the BYU program in 2019, he hasn’t won a game that Alex Barcello had not participated in. The upward trajectory that BYU Basketball has been on since Pope arrived coincides with Barcello deciding to leave Arizona and land at BYU.

Barcello will team up in the backcourt with Milwaukee grad transfer Te’Jon Lucas. Lucas arrives at BYU on June 11th. The two will put together one of the most seasoned backcourts in all of college basketball.

Lucas is entering his sixth season as a collegiate player, while Barcello enters his fifth. On Friday night after Barcello’s public announcement in front of campers at the Father’s & Son’s camp, BYU coach Mark Pope said that Lucas was actively recruiting Barcello to return.

Barcello has established himself as one of the nation’s best three-point shooters. Last season, Barcello knocked down 47.7% of his three-point attempts. The year before saw the Chandler, Arizona native hit 48.6% from beyond the arc.

With Barcello now in the fold, he’s a super senior on BYU’s roster that doesn’t count against the scholarship total of 13. His contributions will count towards BYU getting back to the NCAA Tournament.

Last season’s early exit against UCLA left a “bitter taste” in Barcello’s mouth, and providing extra fuel to the decision to return to BYU for one more year.

With Barcello back, BYU has the talent to be a single-digit seed once again in the NCAA’s. Take down Gonzaga? That’s another conversation as the Zags look to be loaded again with Drew Timme returning and the number one overall recruit joining Mark Few’s program in Chet Holmgren.

But if BYU can stay healthy and see progress in forwards Gavin Baxter and Caleb Lohner, Mark Pope’s third year has the top-end talent that could contend for All-WCC honors in a league dominated by the Zags.

Barcello’s return is a massive addition to Pope’s program. Now he has the chance to etch his name among the greats in BYU history over the next year.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Analysis: What Alex Barcello’s Return Means For BYU Basketball