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On the same night on the West Coast, star guards Alex Barcello and Shaylee Gonzales had career-scoring games for their respective BYU men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Against Pepperdine in Malibu, Barcello scored 33 points with near-perfect shooting from the field to lead the Cougars past the Waves. In a win at Saint Mary’s, Gonzales had 35 points in an 84-69 outcome.

These two guards are putting exclamation points on remarkable careers as Cougars athletes. 

Cougar Insider’s predictions

Question of the week: Will BYU be able to find another Alex Barcello when the time comes that his eligibility is over?

Jay Drew: I’m not going to say that Alex Barcello is a generational player like Jimmer Fredette was, but I am willing to acknowledge that BYU will find it extremely difficult to replace him next year and beyond. Barcello is having a phenomenal final season in Provo, rivaling what Fredette did in 2010-11 when he was a consensus national player of the year honoree.

Barcello has flat-out carried the Cougars this season, particularly in the past 10 or so games when his teammates have seemingly lost their confidence and faltered mightily to put the ball in the basket. I didn’t think it would be a huge loss last year when Barcello initially said he was moving on. He had a change of heart and came back, obviously.

So I was wrong. He has been indispensable. The Cougars would not have a winning record without him. He’s been that good.

There isn’t a player on this year’s roster who can replace Barcello next year. That’s how hard Barcello will be to replace. I can’t imagine a freshman being able to come in and take Barcello’s place, either. That means Mark Pope and his staff will need to hit the transfer portal hard this offseason to find the next AB. Good luck with that, fellas.

Dick Harmon: We’ve seen BYU reload with exceptional players who can score. I think they will do that again in the coming years. The difference with Alex Barcello is how much of the workload he has carried for the program, especially this year. While teammates are hit and miss, it has been Barcello’s consistency that has kept BYU afloat and avoiding a disaster after Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward could not play. 

It is hard to find a horse like Barcello. He is an upper-tier type of player and shooter. I always look at recruiting to gauge talent. Pope was very lucky when his staff got Barcello at the right time from the University of Arizona. I don’t think that kind of blue-chipper will be pulled away from a program like Arizona easily in the future, but the transfer portal never ceases to amaze me. Players are far more mobile now.

I think BYU fans should appreciate the Barcello phenomenon in the coming month. Take him for what he is and applaud his tremendous talent and gritty style of play. He is that rare.

Cougar tales

Mark Pope’s squad will have a full week to prepare for a big road trip to Saint Mary’s where they’ll find a Gael team fired up to take revenge for BYU’s hard-fought win in the Marriott Center. This game will go a long way in determining BYU’s pecking order in the WCC tournament seeding and possible NCAA invitation. SMC is ranked and is considered a Quad 1 game. BYU is running out of ability to play this kind of game for its resume, which took a hit during a four-game losing streak. Here is Jeff Call’s preview of that big game.

From the archives

Related
How Alex Barcello became BYU’s version of John Stockton
BYU’s Jernaro Gilford getting the job done as Cougars’ cornerbacks leader

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

“As a Utah fan (as hard as it is to cheer for such a garbage basketball program. Thanks Coach K for killing our program), I cheer for Alex. I first saw him as a 6th grader in Arizona. As a 6th grader he could shoot 4 feet behind the 3 point line with laser accuracy. He is a remarkable talent. 

“If you have a young son you should take him to watch Alex play. He is the epitome of a hardworking basketball player.”

— AZGOP

“Sorry Dick, that’s not an accurate player comparison. Stockton had amazing court vision and was always looking to find open teammates. AB is more like a Mark Price type, a great shooter who is undersized but always grinding to hunt for shots.”

— Gruncie Ralph

Up next

Feb. 16-17 | TBA | Track and field | MPSP Track Championships | @Spokane

Feb. 17 | TBA | Men’s golf | John Burns Invitational | @Lihue, Hawaii

Feb. 17 | 4:30 p.m. | Softball | vs. Stanford | @Stanford, California

Feb. 17 | 6:30 p.m. | Softball | vs. San Jose | @Stanford, California

Feb. 17 | 11 a.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. LMU | @Provo

Feb. 18 | 7 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. St. Mary’s | @Moraga, California

Feb. 19 | 2 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Gonzaga | @Provo