Baxter holds multiple offers

For Troy Baxter, the time has arrived. The 6-9, 190-pound forward at Gainesville (Fla.) The Rock first emerged at the 2013 Nike Team Florida workout, and since that team he has risen to grassroots prominence only intermittently.

Hitting the road prior to his senior year with Team Breakdown, however, he has one more chance to prove he’s more than an athlete and has become a versatile hoops performer.

But make no mistake: Troy Baxter most assuredly is an elite athlete. Blessed with impressive length and particularly long legs, with high hips, Baxter is a true gazelle who explodes off one foot for memorable dunks and blocks.

He doesn’t shoot often for Team Breakdown but has made the most of his chances on the Under Armour circuit, knocking down 52 percent from the field en route to eight points per game. Not eye-popping stats, obviously, but he contributes in multiple areas and that’s why he could blossom at the right college program, provided he finds a suitable fit.

He’s more of a ‘tweener now than a combo forward, but transitioning into more of a perimeter player is his top objective.

You may not want to bet against Baxter grabbing a quarter off the top of the backboard

”I’m just trying to work on my dribbling, because in college I really want to play the three,” Baxter said. “I know I need to get stronger, too. Coaches tell me to gain weight and continue to work hard in the weight room, and just stay focused.”

Ideally, during his freshman year in college Baxter will be able to focus on adding muscle and defense. He may boast more potential on that end of the court than offense, and at 6-9 that talent could be sufficient to propel him to a lengthy professional career.

He moves his feet fairly well on the perimeter yet clearly possesses the size to be a lean post defender. As an increasing number of big men prefer to set up shop in pick-and-pop scenarios and spotting up from deep, Baxter could become something of a modern defensive specialist thanks to his ability to cover ground quickly and having the length to contest jump shots.

He claims offers from South Florida, Arkansas, Florida International, Alabama, Connecticut, Texas Tech and others, and he said that two head coaches contact him most frequently.

”Definitely Coach Orlando (Antigua) from USF and Coach Anderson at Arkansas,” Baxter said. “I like Coach Antigua’s record, he’s been around a lot of NBA guys (while an assistant at Kentucky) and that’s basically the ultimate goal. My dream is to go to the NBA.

”Arkansas, I like their uptempo offense and they love to play defense. That’s what I thrive in, an offense and defense style of play. “

Baxter currently is a three star prospect but ultimately could earn a fourth star given his recent improvement and long-term promise.



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