Jimmer Fredette keeps strengthening his case for National Player of the Year. I'm writing this immediately after watching Fredette torch the fourth ranked San Diego State Aztecs for 43 points.
He made 14 of his 24 field goal attempts (including five for eight from downtown), and went 10 for 11 from the free throw line.
The game was close for much of the way. However, BYU pulled away late and won convincingly. The final score was 71-58.
Jimmer scored in every imaginable way, and may have finally erased some of the unfounded doubts that his critics have about him.
He's quick, crafty, and could be the best shooter the Mountain West Conference has ever seen (and one of the all-time greats for the entire NCAA).
There was supposedly over 20 NBA scouts in attendance for this game, and many of them may have been converted to Fredette's game by his stellar showing in Provo.
One high-profile believer is Kevin Durant. The NBA's leading scorer took to his Twitter and Facebook accounts as soon as the final buzzer sounded in Utah and said, "Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world!!"
Jimmer played down that comment in a telephone interview on ESPN's SportsCenter following the game, saying that Kevin Durant was the best scorer right now.
If you replace the "world" in Durant's quote with "nation", it's absolutely true.
Obviously, the tweet was an exaggeration. However, after a few years in the NBA, playing against the best players in the world, he could develop into one of the world's top scorers.
A couple years ago, many people questioned whether Stephen Curry had the necessary tools to compete in the league. He answered those questions in his first year.
Many have already compared Jimmer's game to Curry's, and I think there's some value in that comparison. They have a similar style of play, and they're about the same height.
The big difference between the two is Fredette's body. He's in a much more NBA-ready frame than Curry was during his senior year at Davidson.
Jimmer may already be as strong as many starting point guard's around the league.
You can also compare him to Steve Nash (something I did a few months ago).
They're both very crafty, and play with a flair that excites fans and keeps defenders on their toes. They're both great at breaking down their defenders on the dribble. They both boast killer pull-up jump shots.
If Jimmer continues to work on his point guard skills, Kevin Durant won't just be tweeting about the BYU star's scoring ability.
Some people will instantly dismiss these comparisons. They'll say that Fredette is nowhere near as quick as Curry. They'll say he'll never be able to distribute like Nash.
Even after all his great performances, some still say he can't even play in the NBA, let alone have success comparable to Curry or Nash.
Anyone who has actually sat down and watched a BYU game this year knows that this guy absolutely has what it takes to not only play in the league, but to become a star.
The knocks on Fredette by draft experts are the same ones directed toward every white American guard. He's said to lack athleticism and lateral quickness.
Many so-called experts also wonder if he is capable of creating his own shot at the next level.
I've been watching college basketball since I was a kid in grade school, and I'm not sure if I've ever seen someone who can create his own shot as well as Jimmer does.
Kevin Durant doesn't buy that nonsense. The experts should stop selling it.
I can think of several teams that could make use of Jimmer Fredette's incredible talent next year:
New York Knicks: They need a backup point guard, and Fredette would be a good (and exciting) fit in Mike D'Antoni's uptempo system. Plus, he can play both guard positions and could play alongside Raymond Felton at times.
Cleveland Cavaliers: This team is in desperate need of an exciting player. Fredette could do a lot to re-energize the most beaten down fan base in the league.
Indiana Pacers: They thought they had their point guard of the future in Darren Collison. However, he's been very disappointing.
Miami Heat: He wouldn't get many shots on this team, but Miami definitely needs a point guard. Plus, he fills the need they have for a floor-spacer.
Los Angeles Lakers: This team is old. Obviously, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake aren't the future.
Utah Jazz: He would reach mythical status in Jazz fans' minds before ever stepping on the floor. Plus, Deron Williams may be looking for a bigger market in a couple years.
Jimmer's 43-point game against the Aztecs tonight, marks the third time he's gone over 40 in his last four games.
He leads the nation in scoring. He is starting to generate a lot of player of the year buzz. He's led his Brigham Young University Cougars to a 20-1 record.
I doubt many of the scouts that were at tonight's game will cling to the idea that Jimmer can't play in the NBA for much longer.
With each great performance, he's attracting more fans and believers, and silencing doubters.
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