Jimmer Fredette and the BYU Cougars were eliminated by the Florida Gators Thursday night. They went down in overtime by a final score of 83-74.
The loss signals the end of Jimmer's days as a college superstar, but it is also the beginning to a new chapter in his career.
Next season, the senior will be wearing the uniform of some NBA organization, and if he employs the lessons he's learned at BYU (including tonight's loss), he'll be successful as a pro.
Many experts and fans wonder whether or not Jimmer can transition to the NBA game. They say he's too small at 6'2" and 195 pounds, that he can't play point guard and that he won't be able to break down defenders.
In terms of offense, basketball might actually become much easier for Jimmer Fredette at the next level.
For those of you who haven't seen him play until this tournament, you're just now getting a sense of what BYU fans have known all year long (especially since Brandon Davies was suspended).
Jimmer Fredette has to do everything for this team.
The amount of pressure he has had to face in each and every game this year has been unreal. Every team BYU has played has based their entire defensive scheme on slowing down Jimmer.
He's seen more double and triple-teams than any guard in the country. And on the rare occasions that the pressure has slowed him, he's shown the ability to distribute to open teammates who often fail to convert.
On whatever NBA team he lands with, the pressure will be nothing compared to what he's faced in college.
He'll have professional teammates who can score, rebound and even create some shots for him.
NBA coaches won't throw their entire teams at Jimmer and they probably won't tell their big guys to take him out.
Jimmer has shown that he can handle a ton of pressure, but he won't have to next year.
Tonight, he simply couldn't do it alone. Florida is a solid team and, top to bottom, has a much better roster than BYU.
It was the intensity and passion of Fredette that kept the Cougars in the game for as long as they were.
Anyone who's played basketball at a high level knows that these kind of losses hurt. The opportunity Jimmer has (and countless others don't) is to keep playing beyond this game.
The emotion from a loss like this (one that ends his college career) can be used as a great motivational tool as he enters the NBA draft process.
Will Jimmer Fredette Be a Great NBA Player?
He can now use the combine and individual workouts with teams as an arena to prove his NBA worth.
If he now focuses his energy, efforts and whatever he's feeling after this loss on becoming a better player, the sting of falling short in 2011 will fade away.
He has all the ability and potential he needs to be a great NBA player. Now is not the time to sulk (and I don't expect he will). Now is the time to go to work.
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