Provo • New BYU basketball coach Mark Pope continues to build his roster — and raid his former school in the process.
Pope announced Wednesday that two players he coached at Utah Valley last season and another incoming player he signed last November will continue their basketball careers at BYU.
Former Wolverines Richard Harward and Wyatt Lowell and guard Trey Stewart, an American Fork High product who signed with UVU last November, have signed financial aid agreements to play for the Cougars.
Harward and Lowell have to sit out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Stewart graduates from high school later this month and will go on a two-year church mission to England before enrolling at BYU.
Another former UVU star, Jake Toolson, announced on April 24 that he is returning to BYU and will be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer. However, BYU has not officially confirmed Toolson’s signing and won’t be able to until the 2018-19 WAC Player of the Year is officially admitted into a graduate program, much like it had to wait on running back Ty’Son Williams, the South Carolina transfer.
Earlier this week, guard Blaze Nield of Utah State-Eastern announced on Twitter that he has committed to BYU as a preferred walk-on, turning down several scholarship offers from other schools in the process. The 6-foot-1 Nield graduated from Lehi High and served a two-year mission to Washington, D.C., before starring for USU-Eastern last season. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
Because Lowell and Stewart had announced their plans via social media prior to this week, Wednesday’s most significant news was the signing of Harward, a 6-11 center who prepped at Orem High.
Harward, who served a mission in Harward, played two seasons at UVU and will have two seasons of eligibility at BYU. He averaged 10.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and shot 67.9 percent from the field in the last 18 games of the 2018-19 season.
“Richard Harward has some of the best ‘insides’ in college basketball,” Pope said in a school news release. “He welcomes challenges and adversity and has an incredible desire to rise above it. He has developed into a top-level rim protector and rebounder and brings an enormous physicality to the game.”
Harward’s older brother Ian played at BYU before transferring to BYU-Hawaii.
Lowell was the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2018-19 after returning from a mission to Minnesota.
“I’m not sure if Wyatt Lowell is going to be a two guard, a wing or a power forward,” Pope said. “What I do know is he’s a 6-10 baller with a silky stroke and a high basketball IQ who loves this game and has dreams of accomplishing great things.”
Stewart, who leaves on his mission July 1, is the son of BYU women’s basketball assistant coach Ray Stewart. He averaged 14.8 points and 3.7 assists while helping American Fork to a state championship last season.
“All I have to say about Trey Stewart is ‘Dunk you very much!’ This young man has a beautiful way of introducing himself to the competition,” Pope said. “Certainly, current and past great dunkers like Gavin Baxter, Yoeli Childs, Brandon Davies, Mike Hall and Travis Hansen have left their mark on the rims in the Marriott Center. But Trey Stewart might take it to another level. Combine that with an innocent, joyful approach to this game, his ability to make shots and guard anybody and everybody on the floor simultaneously, this kid is going to be a star when he rolls back into town after his mission.”