The accolades continue to flood in for Jimmer Fredette as the nation starts to take notice of this small-town kid who continues to play outside his mind.
Despite his previous success, there have been doubts about his ability to succeed against tough competition, and even moreso when the spotlight is on.
The doubt was not totally unfounded, as many people have been given heaps of praise only to fall flat on their faces. Such was the situation going into the biggest game in BYU basketball history, and arguably the biggest game of Jimmer's career, so far.
This game was hyped like crazy due to the high ranking of both teams, San Diego State being undefeated and the wonder that is Fredette.
It would not have been a terrible surprise to see Jimmer have a subpar game due to the distractions of being interviewed on ESPN as well as numerous other press agencies. Everyone in the college basketball world had something to say about him on radio, TV and the Internet.
He did not disappoint.
As the first half drew to a close, it just felt like Jimmer had been struggling with a few turnovers and what seemed like not a ton of made shots. I guess that is just a testament to his reputation, as he actually had 20 points at halftime.
What impressed me most last night was the apparent attitude that he had going into the second half. When the camera panned to his face right before the start of the second half, he had a seriously determined look on his face.
It was at that point that I was confident he would have an even better second half and lead the team to a win. He did just that, scoring 23 more points and causing all kinds of havoc for the San Diego State defense.
The Aztecs played well, but in the end they appeared to just get worn down and ultimately lost it in the last few minutes.
Now the debate is who Jimmer will be in the NBA: Adam Morrison, who never panned out, J.J. Reddick, who has found a nice little niche, or Stephen Curry, who has excelled from the get-go.
Personally, I don't think he is any of those people. He is somewhat of a mix of all of them.
He has the long range of Reddick (maybe longer), the ability to score around the basket like Morrison and the smarts of Curry.
Fredette has gotten better every year and has really improved himself physically. Last season, it seemed that he couldn't really bang when he went to the hole, but he has visibly bulked up for his senior season, and the results are obvious.
It may also be what helps him most in the NBA. He compared himself to Deron Williams when he was being interviewed, and I don't think that is far off. Unlike Williams, I think he would be better served going to a team that is well established, not a team that just lost its longtime superstars.
Fortunately, I think that is exactly the type of team he will land with. He needs someone who has been successful to teach and tutor him on how to be exceptional. Jimmer is the kind of guy that would take it to heart so he could get better.
There is no way to know where he will get drafted or how is career will turn out, but what you can't deny is that the guy can play. In the words of Kevin Durant:
"Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world."
He said it, not me.
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