Just a week before most Arizona Wildcats typically report for summer classes, their offseason roller coaster took an unexpected twist with Alex Barcello jumping off and Devonaire Doutrive hopping back on.

Barcello announced on Twitter early Monday that he would be leaving after two years as a Wildcat reserve guard while Doutrive, who went looking for a new home a month ago, said shortly afterward that he’s returning for his sophomore season with the Wildcats.

“Sorry for the confusion everyone but I’m staying at the University of Arizona,” Doutrive tweeted.

The swap left the UA with the maximum of 13 scholarships allotted for next season, even as the Wildcats may still be recruiting for next season.

While the UA did not announce Barcello’s departure, the move appeared to solve a depth issue at the wing that began when incoming freshman Terry Armstrong announced last week he would explore professional options rather than enroll at the UA.

Armstrong has a similar skillset as the athletic Doutrive, making them potentially redundant, but the Wildcats suddenly had neither when Doutrive entered the transfer portal last month — and Armstrong opted not to enroll two weeks later.

That problem was solved Monday, when Barcello left after two seasons as a reserve combo guard and Doutrive, just four hours later, grabbed the open roster spot.

Especially considering the Wildcats’ perennially heavy roster turnover, the moves may also benefit them in future Academic Progress Rating calculations.

The APR is a measure of retention and academic eligibility, but players who transfer for the next regular semester and have a grade-point average of 2.6 or better do not cost their former schools retention demerits. GPAs are protected by student-privacy laws, but Barcello was named UA’s student-athlete of the month in February.

Both players’ moves were in contrast to recent statements.

Doutrive’s mentor, Laurian Watkins, said on May 27 that Doutrive was looking for a “more suitable” spot to play next season.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 174-pound Doutrive averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds while playing in 26 of 32 games for the Wildcats last season, but showed flashes of potential and was one of the team‘s best offensive rebounders. On Feb. 28, Doutrive hit a rebound basket at the buzzer to give Arizona a 74-72 win at Oregon State, the last game the Wildcats won.

“U of A was awesome, just not the best fit for him!” Watkins said via text message to the Star on May 27 (he was unavailable Monday). “Wishing U of A nothing but the best. They have put in a solid recruiting class in addition to some good transfers. Everyone will be great on both sides.”

Barcello, meanwhile, has consistently given the impression he was content in his role, even as he averaged just 2.9 points over 51 career games.

When asked after the UA’s Feb. 14 loss at Utah how he was holding up, Barcello said:

“Coach tells me every day to honor the process so I’m just trying to focus on getting better, but nothing’s better than winning. That’s all I want right now. That’s what we all want, is a win, so we’re focused on that.”

On Monday, in his first tweet since November 2017, Barcello thanked the UA and its fans for “the past two amazing years but I have decided it’s in my best interest to move in a direction that’s best for myself and my family.”

Last season, Barcello averaged 9.8 minutes while playing 30 of 32 games. He shot 29.2% from 3-point range, though UA coach Sean Miller had called him the team’s best shooter before the season.

However, Barcello regularly played double-digit minutes while guard Brandon Williams missed most of February with an ongoing knee issue, and lit up the Wildcats with his determination in UA’s otherwise dreary 83-76 loss at Utah on Feb. 14.

Barcello scored seven of his 12 points in the second half of what became the Wildcats’ sixth loss in a row (the UA went on to lose seven straight, its worst losing streak since 1983-84).

“We’re gonna battle to the end,” Barcello said after that game. “Arizona is a great program and it’s never been known for giving up so … we were going to keep battling however the game was going.”

Rim shots

  • Former Wildcat star Derrick Williams helped lead Bayern Munich to the German League title last weekend. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.4 rebounds, according to Eurobasket.com.
  • Osasere Ighodaro, a four-star forward in the class of 2020 from Phoenix Desert Vista, said during the Section 7 tournament that he was offered a scholarship from the Wildcats earlier this month and plans to take an official visit to the UA. He also listed Texas, Pitt, Penn, Stanford and Vanderbilt as schools of interest. “Coach Miller’s a really, really good coach and I’ve really liked the success they’ve had in the past,” he said of the UA. “That stood out to me.”
  • Arizona hosted Hillcrest Prep wing Dalen Terry for an unofficial visit on Monday, according to Stockrisers.
  • Will McClendon, a four-star combo guard in the class of 2021 from Las Vegas, posted on Twitter over the weekend that he received scholarship offers from the UA, ASU and USC.

Reporter

Bruce is a veteran Star sports reporter who has also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He graduated from Northwestern University and has an MBA from Thunderbird.