There is no questioning the fact that BYU's Jimmer Fredette has emerged as one of this season's most explosive scorers and great stories in college basketball. However, it's still debatable whether his ability to score at will in college can translate to NBA success.
As we've seen over recent years, the ability to score nightly on the collegiate level is a pedestrian task when compared to doing the same on the NBA hardwood.
Will Jimmer Fredette end up mirroring former Gonzaga great Adam Morrison, and have a downward NBA career trajectory?
Will he mirror Orlando's J.J. Redick and find a niche as a consistent shooter and contributor?
Or will he just become Jimmer Fredette, and establish his own professional path?
Let's take a look at all three possibilities:
Fredette as Morrison
Adam Morrison was one of the most memorable players in the Gonzaga Bulldogs' ascension to college basketball prominence over the last 15 years. Morrison led the country in scoring at 28.1 points per game in the 2005-2006 season, tallying 13 games of 30 or more points and five games of 40-plus.
Whose NBA Career Will Fredette's Mirror?
In a somewhat surprising decision to not return to Gonzaga following his junior season, Morrison declared himself eligible for the 2006 NBA Draft and was selected with the third overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats, just behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Andrea Bargnani, both of whom have become full-time, productive NBA starters for their respective teams.
Morrison's showed moments of brilliance during his rookie season, averaging close to 29 minutes and 11.8 points per game. That promising start was derailed by a season-ending MCL tear in October 2007 prior to the tip of the 2007-2008 campaign.
Upon his return in the 2008-2009 season, Morrison played sparingly for Charlotte and was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with teammate Shannon Brown, who has become a vital part of the Lakers rotation during the 2010-2011 season.
Morrison's career trajectory was markedly different.
After playing sparingly in two seasons with the Lakers, he was released and briefly signed by the Washington Wizards, before again being released prior to the start of the current season.
Like Fredette, Morrison showed promise as an NBA prospect, with an explosive scoring touch, a cult-like following and a great flair for the game.
None of these attributes carried over with him to the NBA.
Could Fredette's NBA path eerily follow Morrison's?
Is he just the same player, minus the crazy mustache, unkempt hair and knee-high socks?
Fredette as Redick
J.J. Redick, former Duke guard and 2006 National Player of the Year, was the prototypical workmanlike guard who could create his own scoring opportunities as well as anyone in the past few years of the collegiate game.
A three-point specialist with deadly accuracy, Redick set Duke records for points scored in a season (968), finishing just two points shy of the ACC all-time mark set by Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott (970).
Redick's blue-collar style earned him the spite of fans across the nation as he was often the brunt of jokes and hatred from venomous opposing fanbases. He took this in stride and used it as motivation to improve his game in preparation to compete at the NBA level.
After being named Player of the Year in 2006, Redick was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the NBA Draft, eight picks behind Morrison.
Speculation among league scouts was that Redick was not a good enough defensive player to succeed against more talented NBA guards and that he would not be able to create his own shot as he had at Duke.
Both have turned out to be false, as Redick's NBA career has seen an incrementally positive move upward. After starting nine games in the 2009-2010 season, Redick has seen five starts so far this season, averaging 25.3 minutes and a career-best 10.3 points per game.
His contributions to the Magic have been lauded, and he seems to have found a nice fit that will allow him to have an extended, productive NBA career.
Could Fredette be cut from this same blue-collar, determined mold, and make himself a working NBA veteran?
Fredette as Fredette
Maybe Jimmer Fredette is neither Morrison nor Redick, and will cut his own mold. His ability to create an open shot, finish with strength at the basket and take his team on his shoulders has certainly caught the eye of the NBA.
Is he athletic enough to score 20-plus a night against more athletic, rangy and heady defenders?
If so, he could become the next great player to come out of a quickly emerging mid-major, BYU.
Only time and the grind of an 82-game NBA schedule in 2011-2012 will reveal the true Jimmer Fredette.