Alex Barcello chooses Wildcat country

Alex+Barcello+chooses+Wildcat+country

Photo by David Deal

Written by Jake Pyatt, Sports Editor

The recruiting process for major colleges and high profile sports can start at a very young age for star athletes. For Corona del Sol senior Alex Barcello, he can now say he took one giant step closer to completing the process.

On Friday, Aug. 26, the four-star point guard verbally committed to the University of Arizona to attend on a basketball scholarship.

“It feels unbelievable,” Barcello said. “I felt like it was the perfect fit for me.”

Barcello became a target on many major coaches radars after scoring 51 points in a game against fellow star point guard Markus Howard and the Perry Pumas.

“I have a lot of respect for all the coaches that have been recruiting me,” Barcello said. “I have a lot of respect for their schools and programs. I thanked all of them for giving me the chance to be recruited by such great programs.”

On every great basketball team, you need a man who can distribute the ball to the right place at the right time. Barcello hopes he can be that guy under his new coach who played his same position in college.

“It’s the perfect fit,” Barcello said. “Me being close with Coach Sean Miller and him playing the point guard at Pittsburgh in college he can develop me to get to the next level, the NBA, which has been my goal since I was little. Coach Miller is a great guy. He’s very personable with his team. He’s not only wanting to make you a better basketball player but make you a better person.”

Barcello had announced his top five schools less than a month before verbally committing on his official visit to the university.

“Picking my top five was really hard,” Barcello said. “It was hard seeing what school would fit me the best. After going on these official visits and knowing what I wanted, it was a no-brainer. I was 95 to 99 percent sure (I would commit on my visit). Once I got there I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I was telling my family that I was going to commit when it felt right.”

A big role that impacts a recruit’s decisions is if their family will be able to attend games to see them play on a big stage. For Barcello, he sees Tucson as a convenient location for his family to make the 100-mile drive to watch some of his games.

“It was definitely nice to know that (my family could watch me),” Barcello said. “It’s not too far and it’s not too close, so it’s in the right place.”

The Wildcat basketball team calls McKale Memorial Center home. According to ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan, it is the toughest place to play in the Pac-12. That is one thing Barcello is looking forward to most about getting to Tucson.

“I love big crowds,” Barcello said. “I love gyms that are filled where everyone loves the game so I’m looking forward to that the most.”

With under half of the ESPN Top 100 verbally committed, Barcello looks to help put the pieces together for Arizona’s recruiting class.

“Being at the point guard position we’ve got to find the pieces to build a great team,” Barcello said. “I’m definitely going to be reaching out to the guys being recruited and hopefully they’ll come to UofA.”

Barcello has been able to accomplish many accolades in high school, including being a two-time state champion. Corona Head Coach Neil MacDonald is happy to see his star point guard continue his basketball career.

“I am very excited for (Barcello),” MacDonald said. “I know how carefully he and his family evaluated each school that recruited him, so it is exciting to see him finally be able to make a decision that they all know is the right one.”

MacDonald sees how difficult it is to be a student athlete, especially when they are a high profile athlete like Barcello.

“Alex has worked extremely hard both on and off the court to put himself in a position to get this opportunity,” Barcello said. “It isn’t easy to balance academics with high level athletic competition. Athletes have to make sacrifices in order to be successful, and Alex has always been focused and willing to do the work necessary to succeed.”

One big aspect of Barcello’s overall game is his toughness and determination. With this decision out of the way, Barcello can now solely focus on helping lead this upcoming team to a state championship.

“I’m glad to have this off my shoulders,” Barcello said. “Now I can start to focus on getting better and working hard to get a state title this year.”