As the Arizona Wildcats struggle to hit shots, one of their former players is having no trouble knocking down his.
Former UA guard Alex Barcello, now starring for the BYU Cougars, has emerged as one of the top 3-point shooters in college basketball, currently converting 48.8 percent (42-86) of his triples, the eighth-best mark in the country among players who play at least 40 percent of their team’s minutes and average at least two shots per game.
The Phoenix native has started in all 26 games for the Cougars, averaging 10 points per game and becoming a key cog on a squad that not only ranks fifth in the country in offensive efficiency but also first in 3-point field goal percentage.
The Cougars have rode their prolific offense to a 19-7 record, currently sitting in second place behind Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. KenPom rates BYU as the No. 17 team in the country, one spot behind Barcello’s former team.
A former top-100 recruit, Barcello was lauded as one of Arizona’s best shooters during his time at the UA, but it never translated to games. In two seasons with the Wildcats, he only made 29.7 percent of his 3s, hovering right around 30 percent in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Barcello transferred at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, later telling Norma Gonzalez of the Salt Lake Tribune that he wanted a “fresh environment.” He cited Arizona’s involvement in the FBI investigation, his relationships with his teammates, and a lack of playing time as the primary reasons for his departure.
Barcello said he “got into a really bad place” at Arizona “where I lost sight of who I was and didn’t know if basketball was the right path for me.” He was also dealing with family issues, furthering his desire to leave the Grand Canyon State.
“And just being here, it just eliminates all that,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It eliminates everything and I just needed a fresh start.”
Knowing that, it’s unlikely Barcello would have ever shot the ball at Arizona the way he has at BYU, but UA sure could use a player like him right now.
The Wildcats are making just 34.6 percent of their 3s in Pac-12 play, enduring some unbelievably cold shooting stretches. Over their last three games, they are shooting 24 percent from long range.
Barcello? He’s 12 for 16 from 3 over his last five games.
Be sure to check out the Salt Lake Tribune’s full piece on Barcello here.