Boise State Basketball

Former Boise State guard will finish basketball career with Big West school

Redshirt junior guard Malek Harwell and the Boise State men’s basketball team opened the season with an 89-63 exhibition win against Vanguard on Nov. 5 at Taco Bell Arena.
Redshirt junior guard Malek Harwell and the Boise State men’s basketball team opened the season with an 89-63 exhibition win against Vanguard on Nov. 5 at Taco Bell Arena. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Former Boise State men’s basketball player Malek Harwell announced Tuesday night that he will join Cal Poly as a graduate transfer.

Harwell graduated from Boise State this spring with a degree in business marketing. He will have one year of eligibility remaining with the Mustangs.

“It felt right from the minute I stepped foot on campus,” Harwell told the Statesman. “You can tell when something is too special to pass on, and this was that feeling.

“Coach (John) Smith is a special guy, and I can’t wait to give him my all for my last season.”

Harwell chose Cal Poly over offers from Hawaii, Portland, Utah Valley, Idaho State and Pacific, he said.

Harwell redshirted for Boise State in 2015-16 following a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee. The Pocatello native then appeared in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17, 16 games in 2017-18 and 32 games in 2018-19. He averaged 2.2 points and 9 minutes per game last season, but there was no guarantee his playing time would increase as a redshirt senior.

Boise State junior guards Justinian Jessup and Malek Harwell, along with coach Leon Rice, discuss the 78-71 overtime loss to Utah State.

The Broncos have five seniors set to return for the 2019-20 season, plus two Pac-12 transfers joining the team in Oregon’s Abu Kigab and Arizona’s Emmanuel Akot.

Harwell should make an immediate impact at Cal Poly, which finished 6-23 overall last season, including 2-14 in the Big West. The Mustangs hired John Smith to replace head coach Joe Callero, whose contract was not renewed.

“Special thanks to the coaching staff here at San Luis Obispo for taking a chance and believing in me,” Harwell wrote on Twitter. “Let’s get to work an(d) do some damage.”

During his prep career at Century High in Pocatello, Harwell became the Diamondbacks’ all-time leading scorer and was chosen as the state’s player of the year by the Idaho Statesman and USA Today. He was rated the No. 1 prospect in Idaho by ESPN.com after averaging 25.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a senior.

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