COUGAR TRACKS

Alex Barcello Off To An All-American Start In Final Year With BYU Basketball

Nov 17, 2021, 1:07 PM | Updated: 1:09 pm
Alex Barcello - BYU Basketball...
BYU basketball guard Alex Barcello is off to a hot start in his final year with the Cougars. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball star Alex Barcello hasn’t received the recognition that he deserves around the country.

Maybe it’s the late-night tips on the west coast. Perhaps it’s the lack of NCAA Tournament success from BYU since Jimmer Fredette gave everyone a case of Jimmermania. But, whatever the reason, it appears that people have been sleeping on BYU’s super senior leader Barcello.

After leading BYU to a victory over San Diego State on November 12, national college basketball insider Jon Rothstein called the former Arizona transfer a “dark horse All-American candidate” and an “under-the-radar Super Senior.”

BYU coach Mark Pope appeared not to be impressed with those comments, considering Barcello was an AP Honorable Mention All-American last year. He was also a strength & conditioning All-American last season. Then add to the fact that Barcello put together a near-flawless 25-point performance in a historic blowout over No. 12 Oregon.

“Somebody put out, and I say this with all due respect, somebody put out Alex Barcello is one of the most underappreciated guys in the country or darkhorse All-American. I don’t understand that. Like, who in the country has done what he’s done in the first three games,” asked Pope after BYU’s 81-49 win over Oregon.

Alex Barcello is putting up elite numbers

After taking down three teams that appeared in the preceding NCAA Tournament, Barcello, who decided to return to BYU by taking advantage of the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver, is averaging 22 points. He’s shooting 74.1% from the field, 61.5% from three, and 100% at the free-throw line. Barcello made it a goal this season to be a 50-40-90 shooter (FG-3pt-FT %s). After the first week of the season, he’s crushing those numbers, and making clutch plays to help BYU jump out to a 3-0 start.

“His first game [of the season], he had 24 points in six shots. Then, against San Diego State, he made every big play and then he rolls into number 12 Oregon and is 9-of-11 from the field. I mean, I just don’t understand, like the guy is incredible. He’s a star’s star. And he does it exactly right. Like it all blends into everything we do,” said Pope. “…He’s a really special young man. And it’s not even the best thing he does. Do you know the best thing he does? He makes our locker room right. He’s spectacular. Anyway, you can tell I’m a fan.”

Leadership

Barcello told KSL Sports before the season that he thought about last year’s NCAA Tournament loss to UCLA every day in the buildup to this his final year at BYU. From a personal goal, he wants to get to the NBA and he’s placed all of his trust in Mark Pope and his coaching staff to help him get there. Pope, who had a seven-year NBA career, called Barcello “a pro” after the win over SDSU last week.

But from a team perspective, Barcello’s taken leadership classes with players from the BYU football team to help him grow and be the best version of himself both on-and-off the court.

The results through three games are working as Barcello has BYU ready to jump into the Top 25 rankings in November. That’s a rare accomplishment for BYU to crack into the Top 25 during the season’s first month. Only ten previous AP Top 25 polls have included the Cougars in November, with four of those appearances coming in BYU’s Sweet 16 season in 2011 with Jimmer Fredette.

Like that memorable 2011 season, BYU once again has a senior guard that’s ready to lead Cougar hoops to new heights.

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

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