Hometown: Provo, Utah
High School: Timpview High School
Gavin Baxter Player Preview
Baxter has had some rotten injury luck the past two years. He injured his shoulder just before the start of Pope’s first season that kept him out until the final 7 games of the year, and he suffered a season-ending injury last season in just the second game.
When healthy, Baxter is a game-changing athlete. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan that allows him to protect the basket and guard multiple positions on defense. He is cleared to play, although Mark Pope said he will keep on a strict minute restriction to start out. Coaches are playing Baxter in 220-second bursts before bringing him to the bench temporarily.
Baxter showed off 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 piece on the team. He will be counted on to lock down the 5 position with Richard Harward and provide size and versatility down low. He is BYU’s best shot blocker, and allows BYU to switch more on defense when he is in the game.
Baxter staying healthy this year is key for BYU to reach their goals. If he can provide second chance points, rim protection, and rebounding, he will be a key piece to this team and maximize the defensive potential.
2021-2022 Expectations: Main Rotation Player
Baxter will come off the bench initially and his minutes will be limited, but he’ll play every game as long as he’s healthy. As BYU gets more into WCC play, I think his minutes will go up as his body gets more acclimated to game play. Richard Harward is big, physical, and consistent, but Baxter provides more versatility for what BYU can do on defense. BYU will need him for teams with frontcourt length 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 ability that make him so special.