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Matt Haarms named WCC Defensive Player of the Year, 3 other Cougars honored

Brigham Young Cougars forward Matt Haarms (3) smiles after scoring two of his 23 points in the game against Portland.
BYU forward Matt Haarms smiles after scoring two of his 23 points in the game against Portland at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

BYU was well represented when the West Coast Conference awards were announced Tuesday morning, as voted on by the league’s 10 coaches.

Seniors Alex Barcello, Brandon Averette and Matt Haarms earned All-WCC honors, with Barcello earning a spot on the first team and Averette and Haarms being named to the second team. Haarms was voted Defensive Player of the Year and Caleb Lohner was named to the All-WCC freshman team.

Haarms is the first Cougar to win the WCC Defensive Player of the Year award. He is the first to be named a conference defensive player of the year since Jackson Emery accomplished the feat in the Mountain West Conference honor in 2011.

BYU has had 15 players named to WCC all-conference teams since 2012.

As for the rest of the conference, Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert was named the WCC Player of the Year while Mark Few earned Coach of the Year honors (extending his WCC record to 14).

Also, the Zags’ Andrew Nembhard received the inaugural Sixth Man of the Year award and freshman Jalen Suggs was named the Newcomer of the Year.

Barcello led BYU in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game, and he’s shooting 48.9% from 3-point range, ninth-best in the country. Barcello had a career night last Thursday against San Francisco as he scored 29 points and set a school record by hitting 7 of 7 3-pointers. He averaged 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Barcello is shooting 53% from the floor and 84% from the free throw line.

Averette averaged 11.4 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds and established a reputation for hitting clutch shots. He delivered huge buckets both at San Diego State and at Saint Mary’s. Averette scored 30 points against Texas Southern.

Haarms has blocked 43 shots this season and affected many other shots as one of the nation’s top rim-protectors. He’s recorded five blocks in two of his last three games. Against Portland, Haarms went 9 of 9 from the floor in a game. The only player to have more made baskets in a row without a miss was All-American Kresimir Cosic in 1971.

Lohner led BYU in rebounding, averaging 6.8 per game. He’s improved as the season has progressed. Lohner scored a career-high 19 points at Pacific on Feb. 18 and then scored 18 points at Loyola Marymount two days later. Lohner earned WCC Freshman of the Week honors twice this season.

BYU (19-5, 10-3) concluded its regular season with a 65-51 win against Saint Mary’s last Saturday. The Cougars are scheduled to play in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament Monday at 10 p.m. MST.


2020-21 All-WCC men’s basketball honors

Player of the Year: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga

Coach of the Year: Mark Few, Gonzaga

Defensive Player of the Year: Matt Haarms, BYU

Newcomer of the Year: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Sixth Man of the Year: Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga


2020-21 All-WCC Men’s Basketball First Team

Joel Ayayi, Jr., Gonzaga

Alex Barcello, Sr., BYU

Jamaree Bouyee, Sr. San Francisco

Kessler Edwards, Jr., Pepperdine

Corey Kispert, Sr., Gonzaga

Colbey Ross, Sr. Pepperdine

Eli Scott, Sr., LMU

Jalen Suggs, Fr., Gonzaga

Drew Timme, So., Gonzaga

Josip Vrankic, Sr., Santa Clara


2020-21 All-WCC Mens’ Basketball Second Team

Brandon Averette, Sr., BYU

Matt Haarms, Sr., BYU

Logan Johnson, Jr., Saint Mary’s

Andrew Nembhard, Jr., Gonzaga

Khalili Shabazz, Jr., San Francisco


All-WCC Freshman Team

Jalin Anderson, LMU

Oumar Ballo, Gonzaga

Caleb Lohner, BYU

Mitchell Saxen, Saint Mary’s

Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

2020-21 All-WCC Honorable Mention

Ahmed Ali, Sr., Portland

Jeremiah Bailey, Sr. Pacific

Joey Calcaterra, Jr. San Diego

Dameane Davis, Soph., LMU

Daniss Jenkins, Soph., Pacific

Keli Leaupepe, Soph., LMU

Dzmitry Ryuny, Jr., San Francisco

Jalen Williams, Soph., Santa Clara