Matt Haarms celebrates as he leaves the floor in the second half against Saint Mary's. Haarms was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year on March 2. (Preston Crawley)

Matt Haarms becomes first BYU player to win WCC Defensive Player of the Year

Senior center Matt Haarms became the first BYU men’s basketball player to earn West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, and the first to win a conference defensive player of the year since Jackson Emery in the Mountain West in 2011.

The Purdue transfer finished the season averaging 11 points, 4.7 rebounds, two blocks and one assist per game. Haarms’ two blocks led the WCC by more than .7 per game.

Senior guard Alex Barcello was the lone Cougar to earn a spot on the All-WCC First Team. Barcello finished the regular season with career bests of 15.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and one steal per game.

Barcello being named to the All-WCC First Team continues BYU’s streak of having at least one member on the WCC First Team in every year of the Cougars’ membership in the conference.

Haarms added to his trophy case by picking up All-WCC Second Team honors, alongside fellow transfer and senior Brandon Averette. The UVU transfer posted 11.4 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game in his first season as a Cougar.

Freshman forward Caleb Lohner was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team. Lohner finished the season with 7.3, 6.8 rebounds and one assist per game. Lohner’s 6.8 rebounds were tied for fourth-best in the WCC this season. Lohner improved his scoring late in the season as he posted his three best scoring outputs of 19, 18 and 13 points in three of the last four games of the season.

Gonzaga picked up the rest of the WCC awards alongside Haarms. Senior forward Corey Kispert earned the WCC Player of the Year award as he led the WCC with 19.4 points per game. Freshman Jalen Suggs was named Newcomer of the Year and junior guard Andrew Nembhard won the inaugural Sixth Man of the Year award.

Gonzaga’s head coach Mark Few earned WCC Coach of the Year, his 14th time winning the award.

BYU returns to action in the WCC Tournament semifinals on March 8.

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