Hometown: Provo, Utah
High school: Timpview High School
To classify: Senior
Player preview Gavin Baxter
Baxter has had a rotten shot at injuries over the past two years. He injured his shoulder just before Pope’s first season started, which kept him sidelined until the last 7 games of the year, and he suffered a late-season injury. season last season in the second game only.
When in good health, Baxter is a game-changer. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan which allows him to protect the basket and maintain multiple defensive positions. He is cleared to play, although Mark Pope has said he will maintain a strict minute restriction to start. Coaches play Baxter in 220-second bursts before temporarily bringing him to the bench.
Baxter showed his tantalizing potential as a freshman as he had games with 25 points and 5 blocks. His NBA hopes are behind him due to his age and injury history, but he can still be a valuable part of the team. He will be counted on to lock in 5th position with Richard Harward and offer size and versatility at the bottom. He’s BYU’s best shot blocker and allows BYU to go more on defense when he’s in the game.
Baxter staying healthy this year is essential for BYU to meet its goals. If he can provide second chance points, rim protection and rebounds, he will be a key part of this team and will maximize defensive potential.
Expectations 2021-2022: main player in the rotation
Baxter will be off the bench initially and his minutes will be limited, but he will play all games as long as he is healthy. As BYU becomes more involved in the WCC game, I think his minutes will increase as his body acclimates to the game. Richard Harward is tall, physical, and consistent, but Baxter offers more versatility for what BYU can. do in defense. BYU will need him for forward length teams like San Diego State, Oregon, Creighton, Gonzaga and ultimately the NCAA Tournament.
If Baxter can finally stay healthy, we’ll see those athletic traits and abilities that make him so special.