BYU’s Baxter Could Be Out For Season With Shoulder Injury
PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball entered the 2019-20 season with a thin frontcourt, to begin with. Now it’s even thinner.
Sophomore forward Gavin Baxter suffered a shoulder injury during two-a-days of BYU’s training camp practices when he got tangled up with another frontcourt player in practice. The shoulder injury was confirmed by a BYU spokesperson but no further details were provided.
This is a big blow to a Cougar frontcourt that will already be without All-American candidate Yoeli Childs for the first nine games of this season due to an NCAA suspension.
Baxter is currently in the process of consulting with three different doctors, sources tell KSL Sports. The reason for consulting multiple doctors is in hopes of finding a resolution that has him back to a 100-percent recovery but also gives him a chance to potentially play this upcoming 2019-20 season.
According to multiple online reports, Baxter could miss the entire season but that has not been made official at this point as Baxter continues to get feedback from doctors.
However, from one source close to the BYU Basketball program on Baxter’s injury, “It doesn’t look good.”
What BYU loses without Baxter on the floor
Baxter has been projected to be a potential starter for the Cougars when the season opens on Tuesday, November 5th against Cal State Fullerton in the Marriott Center.
A former four-star recruit out of Timpview High School, Baxter is considered to be one of the best all-around athletes in the BYU basketball program standing in at 6-9 210 pounds with a spreading wingspan of over seven feet.
Not to mention, he recently recorded a basketball vertical jump of over 144 inches which would be 12 feet up in the air. See the video below.
First try. 144”. Maxed Out.
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) September 23, 2019
BYU basketball assistant coach Cody Fueger highlighted Baxter’s potential role this season before training camp began in an interview with KSL Sports.
“He’s got a big role. He’s another guy as soon as Coach (Pope) got here, Coach put him to the test. He challenged him right away and he stepped up to the challenge big time. Because we expect him to affect both sides of the court, every possession. Because this is something that he can do,” said Fueger.
Baxter’s freshman year showed a lot of promise
Last season, Baxter played in 30 games and started in eight during his true freshman campaign coming off of serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the first start of his collegiate career last February against Loyola Marymount, Baxter posted career highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds. That performance made Baxter only the second freshman in program history to record at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first career start.
Gavin Baxter made his first career start vs LMU and posted career highs of 25 pts and 10 rebs.@gbax35 is the 5th Cougar with at least 20 pts & 10 rebs in his first career start and only the second freshman (Shawn Bradley had 23 & 14 in his BYU debut on Nov 14, 1990)#BYUhoops pic.twitter.com/nzRkLfRMT0
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) February 5, 2019
Baxter has been all-in on Pope’s “Relentless” approach
During this off-season, Baxter has looked to build off of the success he had a season ago towards the back end of last season as he has bought into the 24/7 relentless approach that head coach Mark Pope has brought with him from Utah Valley University.
“You’ve probably heard Coach Pope say the word relentless a million times but it really gets ingrained in your head,” said Baxter. “You start to change your habits, you’re there to practice early, you’re pushing yourself in the weight room lifting more weight, you’re working on your footwork, it’s just every single detail we are trying to improve our games and it’s been great so far.”
BYU’s depth in the frontcourt if Baxter misses games
If Baxter misses game time, this is what BYU’s frontcourt depth will consist of without Baxter and Yoeli Childs for the first nine games.
- Kolby Lee | 6’9”, 240 | redshirt sophomore
- Dalton Nixon | 6’7”, 215 | redshirt senior
BYU is also waiting on a decision from the NCAA on a waiver from Utah Valley University transfer Richard Harward. Harward is a 6-11, 255-pound center that would help bolster the Cougars frontcourt with Baxter out.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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