Amanda Barcello following ‘in the footsteps’ of older brother Alex
Alex found a home in Provo after transferring from Arizona in 2019. Now little sister Amanda hopes to pick up where her brother left off.
While the BYU men’s basketball team has lost star guard Alex Barcello, a three-year starter, the women’s team is adding a Barcello.
Actually, 5-foot-11 freshman guard Amanda Barcello redshirted for the Cougars last year after suffering a thumb injury in practice and undergoing surgery. But now she’s ready to make an impact.
“It took a toll on me mentally. Just learning the patience part of things and knowing that now if I come in every single day and put that effort there, hopefully, the work will pay off.” — Amanda Barcello
Alex found a home in Provo after transferring from Arizona in 2019. Amanda saw how well her older brother assimilated at BYU.
Not surprisingly, Alex influenced Amanda’s decision to commit to the Cougars.
“He definitely was a really big part of it. I came here for the girls and the coaches but seeing him thrive here and be in his element, I kind of saw that,” she said. “I was like, ‘Maybe that’s the right step for me, too.’ Like I said, just looking up to him my whole life and him being the father-figure in my life, I knew that it could be the right fit for me, too.”
Amanda Barcello prepped at Seton Catholic Prep in Chandler, Arizona, where she averaged 9.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.5 assists per game. And she helped Seton Catholic capture a 4A state championship.
First-year coach Amber Whiting has high expectations for Barcello.
“She’s a really good defender and she’s a knock-down shooter,” Whiting said. “For her, ‘3’ and ‘D’ is what I want her role to be. I see her getting a lot of minutes doing that.”
Her first year in Provo hasn’t always been easy; being unable to play last year was difficult.
Barcello was injured while going for a loose ball and “one of my teammates swung their arm back and took my thumb with them,” she said.
BYU had perhaps its best team ever last season, as it won 26 games and captured the West Coast Conference regular-season championship.
What did Barcello learn last season?
“Just patience, honestly. Once my injury happened and I went through the surgery process and waiting, it was really tough,” she said. “It took a toll on me mentally. Just learning the patience part of things and knowing that now if I come in every single day and put that effort there, hopefully, the work will pay off.”
Then, after the season, coach Jeff Judkins retired and Whiting was hired. That created another challenge.
“The transition was definitely hard. Coming in everyday knowing that I had to put my effort out with the new coaches and proving a point because last year I wasn’t able to play in games,” Barcello said. “But Amber’s done a great job of guiding me and helping me through it all and encouraging me. To know that what happened last year happened and that this is a different year. We just have to get after it.”
Overall, she’s enjoyed her time in Provo.
“Obviously, coming here as a nonmember (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), people were saying it might be tough and you might feel out of place,” she said. “But when I got here, I felt so embraced by the coaches and the girls. My brother made the transition a lot easier. The community around basketball, when you meet people, they’re so nice and genuine. I love it.”
While Amanda Barcello is looking to play a key role at BYU, her brother, who starred at BYU before embarking on a professional basketball career, is currently playing in Greece.
“He’s good. He’s living it up in Greece, on an island. It has beautiful beaches,” she said. “He loves the team and loves the coaches. His wife, Zoe, just went out there a couple of weeks ago. He loves it.”
Amanda sees a lot of herself in Alex.
“We’re alike mentality-wise. Always 110% effort, no matter what we’re doing. On the court, we’re super serious,” she said. “Off the court, kind of goofy and fun. We both go about things in the same way. We’re really similar. My whole life I’ve looked up to him and I kind of copied everything he did and I try to be in his footsteps.”
If Amanda can provide a spark for the BYU women’s team, like Alex did for the men’s team, it should be another great fit.