BYU Women’s Basketball Meets NBA Legend Charles Barkley

Jan 15, 2022, 11:27 AM
Charles Barkley (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)...
Charles Barkley (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – NBA legend Charles Barkley took the time to pose for a picture with the BYU Women’s Basketball team.

The “Chuckster,” who has maintained his popularity in the basketball world through his hosting on TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” ran into BYU’s nationally-ranked squad at LAX on Friday. BYU is gearing up to play Loyola Marymount in a WCC clash on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

BYU assistant coach Lee Cummard (not in the picture) tweeted about the meet-up with the Hall of Famer, “My favorite player ever with my favorite team currently!” Cummard grew up in Arizona when Charles Barkley was a member of the Phoenix Suns with Kevin Johnson, Cedric Ceballos, and others. Barkley earned his lone MVP award in 1993 with the Suns.

BYU women’s basketball is in the midst of a special season of its own. Led by guards Shaylee Gonzales and Paisley Harding, BYU is 13-1 overall and No. 18 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. Along with the talented guard line that includes former Colgate transfer Tegan Graham, BYU boasts a frontcourt that includes All-American Lauren Gustin and 6-foot-7 center Sara Hamson.

The Cougars advanced to the Round of 32 in last year’s NCAA Tournament before falling to National Runner-Up Arizona. This year, BYU is currently No. 20 in the latest NET rankings for women’s basketball, has aspirations to make a potential run to the second weekend or farther.

It all starts with head coach Jeff Judkins who is in his 21st year overseeing the program. In BYU history, Judkins is the winningest basketball coach (men’s or women’s). He’s compiled a record of 443-201 during his time as head coach, but this team could potentially be his best.

BYU takes on LMU at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Los Angeles, then will have another trip to Southern California for a pair of road games next week against Pepperdine and San Diego.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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