Hometown: Orem, Utah
Last School: UVU
Class: RS Senior
Richard Harward Player Preview
“Big Rich” is a 5th-year senior and coming off a season where he averaged 6 points and 4.3 rebounds on 60% shooting from the field. Harward is BYU’s biggest player and arguably one of the most valuable since he is BYU’s one true 5 that is experienced. Depth at the 5 is one of BYU’s question marks, so BYU will need Harward this whole season.
We got a bit of a scare when Harward collapsed on the bench during the exhibition versus Colorado Christian. Mark Pope said post game he didn’t think it was too serious, and one source told me that doctors said it was dehydration and that Harward will be fine moving forward.
One low-hanging fruit for Harward to improve is his free throw shooting. Harward draws a lot of contact, and he shot only 52% from the foul line last season. He shot 64% from the line in his last season at UVU, so getting to at least that won’t make him a liability on the floor.
Lohner is BYU’s best rebounder, but Harward will need to average at least a couple extra boards this season to shore things up on the glass. If he can be a guy that gets you a couple baskets a night on low-post touches, sets hard screens, and gives a physical presence down low, he will have done his job. Harward has even worked on his three-point shot and hit one in the blue-white scrimmage, so that will be something to monitor if he can knock down an occasional open three.
2021-2022 Expectations: Starter
BYU needs Rich this year. If he goes down, BYU will need to rely on two freshmen, Gavin Baxter, and Caleb Lohner to hold down the 5 spot. They could do it, but it would get dicey and put BYU at a disadvantage when they face teams with physical big men. In addition to his play on the floor, Harward brings an infectious energy to the team and physicality that rubs off on players.
I don’t expect Harward to be an all-conference player, but he is one of the most valuable players on team based on the shuffling BYU would need to do if he goes down.