Jimmer Fredette: Is Fredette Legit or Another “Great White Hope?”

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 05:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young University Cougars drives against Brice Massamba #12 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center January 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. BYU won 89-77.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

ESPN Radio personality John Ireland asserted on ESPN’s First Take Brigham Young University sharp-shooting guard Jimmer Fredette is a lock to be selected in the first round of next years’ NBA Draft.

Ireland went on to state Fredette “can start” immediately for an NBA team based on his skill set.

Start at the next level?

We’ll see. 

In my opinion this is another attempt by so-called authorities to create an embellished atmosphere around a white basketball player who plays well at the collegiate.  Anytime a white basketball player has an inkling of talent he’s got to be the next Larry Bird.

While Fredette is putting up some monster numbers, I don’t see him being drafted in the first round and starting for an NBA team, as Ireland suggests. 

At 6’2” Fredette has good size and he handles the ball very well.  He’s demonstrated he can create his own shot off the dribble and he’s crafty in traffic.

I came away impressed with what I saw shooting-wise.  There is no question Fredette can shoot the basketball with extended range.  I watched him play against San Diego State earlier this year. 

Fredette is a fast player but he is not laser quick.  He surely needs to improve his defense if he wants to truly compete at the next level.  He can get careless with the basketball and make senseless turnovers.

Let’s get to the real issue here.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has done all he can to dilute African-American talent.  By globalizing the game he’s provided opportunities for an influx of non-African-American talent in the NBA by way of Europe. 

Stern has made it clear through his actions that the NBA has reverted back to the 1970’s by being too black. 

Several years ago Stern instituted a dress code for players.  He felt players should come to work in professional attire.

Translation: Stern, along with a segment of the white fan base, grew weary of seeing African-Americans entering arenas wearing sweats while being draped in jewelry and sneakers. 

This year, Stern instituted what I deem to be a racist legislation called the “Respect for the Game” rule.  Players are expected to not act in an overly demonstrative fashion and not question calls made be game officials. 

Word on the street is fans were tired of players complaining about calls while exhibiting overly aggressive behavior.

Translation: The white establishment is not going to allow African-Americans to earn millions of dollars, dress like Hip-Hop artists and express themselves in a manner the hierarchy doesn’t deem acceptable.

Enter Jimmer Fredette. 

In some ways he represents basketball’s “Great White Hope.”  Fredette potentially represents what the white fan base is missing; that’s a white American who can really play with the stars a la Larry Bird and Chris Mullin.

For example, Christian Laettner was an outstanding college player for Duke in leading his team to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992. 

In 1992 Laettner played in what I consider to be the greatest collegiate basketball game of all time: the Regional Finals in the Philadelphia Spectrum against the Kentucky Wildcats. 

He went 10-10 from the field while converting 10-10 free throws.  More importantly, he drilled the last shot of the game in overtime to seal the win for Duke.

Laettner was added on the Olympic Team in 1992 (the spot should have went to Shaquille O’Neal) to cement himself as the darling of basketball.  He was expected to come into the NBA and be a great player, but it didn’t happen.

The latest so-called "great" white player was former Gonzaga standout forward Adam Morrison.  He was the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by Charlotte Bobcats. 

Morrison did a solid job in his first full season.  He was named the starting forward but was later benched because of poor defense and erratic shooting. 

At the beginning of the 2008 season Morrison sustained a knee injury, forcing him to miss the entire season.

In 2009 Morrison was traded to the Los Angles Lakers where he basically sat on the bench and collected two championship rings. 

This season Morrison sits at home as a free agent.  He is awaiting a team to call for his services after being cut by the Washington Wizards before the beginning of the regular season.

Will Fredette be the next Larry Bird or Chris Mullin?

Or will he be more like Steve Alford and Damon Bailey?

From what I can see, Fredette is a very good basketball player.  But I am not as optimistic as Ireland and some others that he may be the next big thing.

I’ll assert what many are afraid to express: the NBA is starving for a good white player. 

This year Fredette is that guy. 

Nothing would make a portion of the white fan base and Commissioner Stern happier if Fredette turns out to be the next Bird and takes the NBA to another level.

While it is possible he could do just that, personally, I don’t think it is likely.

Rest assured, a segment of the “white” press “hope” he continues to play great as he enters the NBA and beyond.

We’ll see.

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