PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball was hit hard last year by injuries, and the hits haven’t slowed down in 2020-21 as Gavin Baxter is out for the season.
Head Coach Mark Pope announced Saturday that the 6-foot-9, 210-pound Baxter would miss the entire 2020-21 season due to an ACL injury he suffered during the Cougars win against New Orleans on Thanksgiving night.
Baxter has started both games to open the 2020-21 season for the Cougars averaging 6.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. A former four-star recruit out of Timpview High School, Baxter had a torn labrum that was expected to keep him out all of last season. He had a quicker than expected recovery, playing in BYU’s final seven games of their 24-8, nationally-ranked campaign.
“It’s always hard to see a player go down,” said BYU guard/forward Connor Harding. “[Gavin] gives us a lot of length and he’s really athletic. Seeing him go down, personally to me, it broke my heart. But also on the other hand, as a team, we’ve got to step up and know that we have other games and other players to step in … The last two games his ability to run the floor, get people open, we really need that.”
Before Thursday, Gavin Baxter was finally healthy and ready to contribute to BYU’s deep and talented frontcourt for an entire season.
Pope said earlier this week that the depth he has on this year’s BYU roster was a “good problem to have.” BYU will turn to former Wasatch Academy star recruit Caleb Lohner in replace of the injured Baxter. Purdue transfer Matt Haarms is still nursing an ankle injury. Haarms is dressed and available to play against Utah Valley University.
Last month, the NCAA granted this season a year that doesn’t impact any student-athlete eligibility due to the novel Coronavirus. That decision will still give Baxter three years to play two during his BYU career.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.
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