NCAA Basketball Mid-Season Hype Train: Jimmer Fredette Deserves More Attention
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Generally when a college basketball player is scoring at will against defenders, possesses a silky smooth jumper and has his team in the Top 25, you hear about him.
Usually when a guy is in the midst of a 22+ point per game season for the second straight year, people start to take notice.
That player ascends up the draft board, gets the cover of Sports Illustrated and is tossed around in college and pro basketball forums. And generally, it's well-deserved. Usually they get noticed.
But not always.
Jimmer Fredette is a prime example of a truly remarkable talent simply floating under the radar, firmly attached to his small school identity, not getting the luxury of a big stage spotlight.
Fredette isn't the next Great White Hype. He's the next impact player at the NBA level that might never get a chance to prove himself.
Let's face it: Fredette plays for BYU. BYU doesn't get great exposure and is not overly well respected as a college basketball program. In fact, if it weren't for BYU making the NCAA tournament last season, no one would have known Fredette even existed. They wouldn't have bothered to backtrack to a December showdown with Arizona, where he went off for a ridiculous 49 points in a blow-out win for BYU.
Who would you compare Fredette to?
More, if BYU didn't win in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 seasons, no one would have looked at Fredette as an elite winner, leader and overall prospect.
But Fredette does play for a school with little exposure. He doesn't face elite competition from a defensive standpoint on a consistent basis, while arguably rarely defended by an NBA-caliber player. He's barely 6'2'' and doesn't necessarily have the skills to play the point at the next level.
He's not big enough. He's not athletic enough. He's not fast enough. He lacks explosion. He lacks lateral quickness. I mean, where do I stop?
Where does the endless trail list of made-up "this white guy sucks" adjectives end? Do the naysayers of Jimmer Fredette simply think this kid launches 35-foot threes and they go in by luck? Is he just out their chucking it and getting handed presents from the gods?
No, like it or not, Jimmer Fredette is one of the best scorers in the NCAA game today, is an elite shooter and can get his teammates involved.
He's under-sized for a shooting guard at the next level, but he's not a shooting guard. He's a capable point guard with elite scoring ability. He's not slow, laterally handi-capped or un-athletic. He's simply stereotyped to be those things.
Fredette has made a career out of dribbling around and past defenders, getting to the basket with floaters, layups and mid-range jumpers. He has head-on-a-swivel court vision and unselfishness, while also maintaining the killer instinct needed for a pure shooter to transition into being his team's relentless game-changing scorer.
He's this small white kid at a small school who can shoot a sick jumper. But really, this kid can absolutely destroy you from just about anywhere on the court, and there's just not much that can be done about it.
Fredette is only moving upward as we watch him in the present, in 2011. With his 39-point outburst in a win over UNLV on Wednesday night, he now has the impressive BYU Cougars at 15-1. Fredette has raised his scoring average to well over 24 points per game, while also dishing out over 4.4 assists per game.
There has to be a point where this isn't about the name, the school, the look and the marketability. There has to be a point when the talent and production speaks for itself.
Some will say he's just a mini-Adam Morrison, a college kid who had a great shot and somehow managed to light up a small conference for a couple of years.
Some will say he's J.J. Redick with a good handle and some passing skills.
I won't get into predictions and comparisons just yet, but something tells me we all should be aiming a little higher than that for Fredette.
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