As if his over-the-top courtside antics weren't enough, Utah head coach Jim Boylen has found another way to torment Cougar Nation. He suggested that all-everything BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette is ready to skip his senior season for the NBA.
"He's going to have a tough decision to make in the spring, I'm telling you," Boylen said, who has 13 years experience as an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. "He has a heck of decision to make come June 25th or whatever it is. He's really good, really good.
"Very few guys have the combination of ball skills, shooting ability, and what he's improved on is strength and his ability to finish plays at the rim. He is better this year. He's better at playing through contact. I was in 13 drafts, and he's pretty good."
Since Boylen made these comments after BYU's 82-69 win over the Utes, local and national media, along with Cougar fans everywhere, have pitched in their two cents:
Jim Rayburn, Deseret News: "If I was to make a prediction right now, I think he'll play for BYU next season. And I think he should."
Jay Drew, Salt Lake Tribune: "Representatives of NBA teams cannot speak publicly about college underclassmen. The consensus from a couple contacted Monday is that Fredette would struggle against NBA point guards, a little offensively and a lot defensively. There are also concerns about his size and athleticism. "
Aran Smith, NBADraft.net: "Projects as an instant offense bench type of player for the NBA level. NBA Comparison: Mark Price/Eddie House."
Scott Nadler, DraftExpress.com: "Fredette isn’t a sure-fire NBA player at this point, but the gaudy numbers he’s putting up and the manner in which he’s producing is surely making scouts and NBA personnel aware of who he is.
"He’d be wise to stick around for another season and try to maximize his athletic potential with a professional over the summer—something that would surely elevate his stock."
MVHS_Dynasty, CougarBoard.com: "He's got NBA range, has a quick release and moves and shoots well off of screens. If Jose Calderon or whatever his Spanish flopper trash name is can be a point in the NBA, Jimmer could too."
What does Fredette have to say about all the hype?
"I'm not exactly sure yet. After the season I'll have a good talk with the coaches and my family, obviously, and everyone that's close to me and make a decision," Fredette told KSL.com. "But it could be an option, but right now I'm not thinking about it too much."
Fredette has seen current and former teammates try out each possible option: Trent Plaisted left early, was drafted by the Sonics (remember them?), traded to the Pistons, shipped to Italy and made his latest stop in Croatia.
Lee Cummard stayed in school, went undrafted, was declared "unfit to play" by ALBA Berlin and was recently cut by the D-League's Utah Flash.
Jonathan Tavernari put his name in last year's draft before withdrawing it before the deadline. His overall struggles this season have lowered his stock.
What should Jimmer do? If he stays, he returns to another solid BYU team.
Tavernari, backup point Lamont Morgan, Jr. and center Chris Miles will graduate. Freshman sensation Tyler Haws will leave on an LDS mission, but the rest of the team stays intact.
Assuming Fredette stays hot the rest of this season, and BYU makes noise in the NCAA tournament, he may become next season's Stephen Curry: a mid-major guy making SportsCenter every night.
If he goes, Fredette will likely find an NBA home, but where would he fit best? The Knicks' up-tempo offense would fit his style well, and he is a native New Yorker from Glens Falls, about an hour north of Albany.
In my heart of hearts, I say Jimmer puts his name in come April but will ultimately decide to stick around for one more year. He'll do everyone, including himself and Cougar Nation, a whole lot of good.