Jimmer Fredette: Statistical Support for Why He's Not the Player of the Year

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2011

DENVER, CO - MARCH 17:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts to a call while playing against the Wofford Terriers during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A few days ago, I wrote a piece explaining the reasons I felt Jimmer Fredette of BYU did not deserve to be player of the year in NCAA basketball.

Those who have read this piece and disagree with it have said that it lacks facts, that it is a hate piece and that the author was raggin’ on Jimmer and BYU. 

I thought at first I would just add a comment to the story about the stats.  But that got too long and I thought another piece was in order.

Okay, let us look at some facts concerning the subject, Jimmer Fredette. 

He leads the nation in scoring with 28.5 points per game. 

But is Jimmer the best shooter in college basketball as the author first opined? 

Fredette is 16th in the country in free-throw percentage at 89.1 percent. 

He is sixth in the country in the number of three-pointers made.

But he ranks only 29th in three-point percentage with 40.4 percent. 

Jimmer is not in the top 100 in field goal percentage. 

Jimmer is not in the top 100 in assist to turnover ratio. 

Jimmer is not in the top 100 in assists. 

Jimmer is not in the top 100 in steals.

In last night's opening tourney game against 14th-seeded Wofford from the Southern Conference, Jimmer scored 32 points. He was 10-for-25 shooting (40%) and 2-of-9 from three (22%). He made 10-12 free throws (83.3%). He had four rebounds, two personal fouls, seven assists and four turnovers.

One player mentioned in the first article, which caused great umbrage to some readers, was Kemba Walker of UConn. Last night against 14th-seeded Bucknell, Kemba scored 18 points. He was 5-for-11 shooting (45%) and 2-for-5 on threes (40%). He made all six free throws he took. He had eight rebounds, two personal fouls, 12 assists and two turnovers.

Both BYU and UConn won their first-round games against inferior opponents. Did Jimmer or Kemba have the better game? Everyone is going to have their own opinion.

The games were on at roughly the same time and I saw very little of UConn’s game. I was watching Jimmer and BYU.

My observations, which I am sure the Jimmer fans will once again shred, were these. 

1)  Wofford frustrated Jimmer for most of the game. They played him very tight and he didn’t like it.  You could often see him whining to the refs about fouls he wanted called and didn’t get.  Sometimes his whining was justified. Sometimes it was just whining.

2)  Jimmer should have ended up with more assists. He had seven but he made some great passes to teammates who missed bunnies. You can’t complain about assists lost when a teammate misses a three. But you can when teammates are missing open layups.

3)  I reconfirmed my opinion that Jimmer doesn’t play defense and doesn’t care. BYU played some man and some zone, but at no time was Jimmer engaged on defense. He often left his man to roam when he was playing man-to-man and was more keen on where the ball was and getting out on a run.  In the zone he was once again the “matador” waving players through his seam in the zone and letting them go.

When I wrote the first piece, I didn’t expect it to get the attention it did. I was honestly trying to be objective about what I saw in Jimmer Fredette. 

I had not looked closely at his stats. When I said he was “the greatest shooter since Pete Maravich” I was being sincere. But his stats don’t bear it out. If you aren’t in the top 100 in field goal percentage, you really can’t rank as one of the all-time great shooters.

One team I do follow closely, Kentucky, shoots 39.7 percent AS A TEAM from three-point range.  That is almost as good as Jimmer shoots individually. So perhaps I was wrong in my evaluation of Jimmer as a shooter.

But I still say he is one of the most enjoyable players I have watched in a long time and I would love to see him play more.


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