BYU's Alex Barcello highlights WCC all-league honors; Traore named All-Freshman

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PROVO — Alex Barcello knows the season isn't over, but his final outing in a BYU uniform proved to be his most productive.

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound guard from Chandler, Arizona, returned for a third season of extra eligibility and had his best in a BYU uniform, averaging 17.0 points per game while shooting 45.7% from the field with 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

West Coast Conference coaches rewarded him Wednesday, naming the Arizona transfer to the all-league first team for the second consecutive season.

"He's had so many signature moments already," BYU head coach Mark Pope said. "My heart just wants our seniors to be able to have another shot at what they've worked so hard for, which is the WCC Tournament and then postseason play after that."

Barcello was the only BYU player honored amongst the league's top superlatives. Fousseyni Traore was one of seven players named to the All-WCC freshman team, along with former Wasatch Academy teammate Nolan Hickman of Gonzaga.

Gonzaga's Drew Timme was named WCC Player of the Year, and Zags teammate Chet Holmgren took home Newcomer and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Saint Mary's guard Tommy Kuhse was Sixth Man of the Year, and his coach Randy Bennett named Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his 21st season in the conference.

In just three years, Barcello has scored 1,242 points at BYU while starting all 89 of the games in which he's played. He's also helped facilitate an offense despite not being the team's primary ball handler each of the last two seasons, averaging 4.3 and 3.1 assists, respectively, each year.

The program's all-time leader in 3-point field-goal percentage, Barcello's career hit a major crescendo last month, coming together for a career-high 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting — including 9-of-10 from 3-point range — on Feb. 12 in a 91-85 win at Pepperdine that helped the Cougars correct the deviation of a four-game losing skid just a week earlier.

What's not seen in those box scores, though, is his leadership. Barcello came to BYU "broken" by his own admission, and departs three years later with a renewed confidence, swagger and love for life that includes his upcoming nuptials this summer.

"Alex Barcello, what he's done in his two years nine-tenths is just extraordinary," Pope said. "It's incredible, how he's shot the ball, how he's led the team, how he's grown and handled the highest-pressure situations and biggest adversities. I'm not intimately familiar with the history of BYU basketball. But in terms of what this is really about, which is connecting with our fanbase and growing as a human being, it's hard to imagine guys who have done much more than he did here.

"We're all looking for the storybook ending, and the storybook ending is clear what that would be. But in some sense, he's already written a storybook ending."

Traore, a native of Bamako, Mali, who prepped at nearby Wasatch Academy, averaged 9.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 57.2% shooting per game. His seven double-doubles in his freshman season are tied for the second-most by a freshman in BYU history, including a 25-point, 19-rebound effort in the Cougars' regular-season finale against Pepperdine.

2021-22 All-WCC Men's Basketball Individual Honors

Players with local ties in italics.

Player of the Year: Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Coach of the Year: Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's

Newcomer of the Year: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

Sixth Man of the Year: Tommy Kuhse, Saint Mary's

Defensive Player of the Year: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

2021-22 All-WCC Men's Basketball First Team

Alex Barcello, G, BYU

Jamaree Bouyea, G, San Francisco

Chet Holmgren, F, Gonzaga

Tommy Kuhse, G, Saint Mary's

Yauhen Massalski. F, San Francisco

Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga

Matthias Tass, F/C, Saint Mary's

Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga

Josip Vrankic, F, Santa Clara

Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara

2021-22 All-WCC Men's Basketball Freshman Team

Nolan Hickman, G, Gonzaga

Chet Holmgren, F, Gonzaga

Maxwell Lewis, F, Pepperdine

Houston Mallette, G, Pepperdine

Wayne McKinney III, G, San Diego

Mike Mitchell Jr., G, Pepperdine

Fousseyni Traore, F, BYU

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