BYU signs big-time outside attackers from California, Italy

Two outside attackers who led their teams to deep postseason runs will now join a program that has reached back-to-back NCAA Tournament finals.

BYU coach Shawn Olmstead announced last week that high school seniors Tim Baldwin and Davide Gardini have committed to play for the Cougars beginning in the 2019 season.

Baldwin, 6-foot-6 outside attacker from Oak Park, California, helped his high school team last season earn the No. 1 national ranking and reach the regional semifinals of the state tournament. In addition, Baldwin won a silver media with his club team at the 2017 USA Volleyball High Performance Championship.

“We’ve been fortunate to watch Timmy for a handful of years,” Olmstead said in a statement. “From our first interaction, he stood out as a young man with an enthusiasm for the game and a desire to push himself to be the best. He’s been coached well and has competed at the national level for some of the most competitive club teams in the country. He’ll bring great energy and drive to our team, and we look forward to having him on campus.”

Gardini, a 6-foot-9 outside attacker from Ravenna, Italy, was named the Best Outside Spikers at the 2017 U19 European Championships as he guided Italy to a silver-medal finish. He also helped Italy qualify for the FIVB U19 World Championship and finished that event among the tournament leaders with a 46.38 percent offensive efficiency.

Along with his accomplishments for the Italian U19 National Team, Gardini has competed with the Italian U21 National Team for the last two years and is the son of three-time Italian Olympian Andrea Gardini.

“Davide is a big-time addition to our program,” Olmstead said in a statement. “He’s driven to be the best and has shown that by competing for the Italian National Team at all levels and winning some of the most competitive tournaments in the world. He adds length and athleticism to our team at his position. He comes from a pure volleyball family and is the son of one of the greatest volleyball players ever, Andrea Gardini. Davide is driven to continue the success of Italian volleyball, and we’re excited he’s chosen BYU to develop more as a player and a person.”

BYU finished last season earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and for the second straight year lost to Ohio State in the NCAA finals. Among the starters returning for the Cougars in the upcoming season includes All-American outside attacker Brenden Sander.