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‘We’re going to be a fun team to watch’: BYU’s Alex Barcello looking forward to playing with front court players like Matt Haarms

Alex Barcello is looking forward to pick-and-roll possibilities with this year’s team like he had with Marvin Bagley III in high school.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello (4) drives around Loyola Marymount Lions forward Ivan Alipiev (35) during the game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello (4) drives around Loyola Marymount Lions forward Ivan Alipiev (35) during the game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

PROVO — When he was playing for Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Arizona, BYU guard Alex Barcello loved teaming up with Marvin Bagley III, who later starred at Duke and became the No. 2 overall pick in the National Basketball Association draft in 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bagley currently plays for the Sacramento Kings and was selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

“It was great playing with him on pick-and-rolls,” Barcello recalled about playing with Bagley. “He’s got so much length that we could throw it up almost anywhere and he’d grab it.”

Next season, Barcello can foresee similar plays involving the big guys on the Cougars’ roster, including 7-foot-3 Purdue transfer Matt Haarms.

“It’s going to be fun to play with him,” Barcello said of Haarms, adding that he’s also excited about the potential of returning players with size like 6-9 Gavin Baxter and 6-9 Kolby Lee. “We’re going to be an extremely fun team to watch, just like we were last year.”

Then there’s the additions of 6-11 Richard Harward and 6-10 Wyatt Lowell. Both redshirted last season after transferring from Utah Valley University.

“Rich is one of those guys you want on your team because he’s going to go down low in the post and battle the other bigs. He’s not going to back down,” Barcello said. “He brings that toughness and energy to the game. The crowd’s going to love him this year because he brings that fire. Before I got my (transfer) waiver, I was playing with him and Wyatt on the (scout) team. They both brought a lot of energy every day. They’re not going to back down. He’s a monster down low. Wyatt is a lengthy guard in my opinion. He’s got guard skills to be able to shoot and dribble and get by defenders. He’s another guy that, at 6-10, who’s going to guard him? He’s a guy that can shoot. It’s a hard matchup on the wing. We definitely have some unique pieces for this year. I’m excited for these guys. They’re hungry. They’ve been working hard every day. We’re all excited.”

Returning with Barcello on the guard line are Connor Harding, Trevin Knell and Jesse Wade. Also joining the team are junior college transfers Gideon George and Spencer Johnson.

“We have a lot of great pieces to this team. These guys want to win,” Barcello said. “Nobody has the mentality that we need to go out and score 30 or 40 points. We’re all bought into winning this as a team. Having the pieces we have right now, we have the possibility of being very successful this season.”