2011 NBA Draft: Jimmer Fredette to Display Surprising Athleticism at Combine?

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2011

DENVER, CO - MARCH 16:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars takes part in practice prior to their second round NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament game at the Pepsi Center on March 16, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Jimmer Fredette and the rest of this year's NBA prospects are in the middle of a very big week.

Over the next few days, there are a couple very important events on the way to the 2011 NBA draft. Tonight at 8:30 PM ET, we'll get to see the draft lottery on ESPN.  

Wednesday through Friday, we'll learn a lot about the draft's biggest names as they participate at the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago (basketball's equivelant to the NFL combine).

All year long, "experts" and critics have been questioning Jimmer's athletic ability, and can't wait to see him exposed at the pre-draft camp.

Based on some eye-opening reports in the Deseret News, those "experts" and critics may be the ones who get exposed this week.

Jimmer has spent the last few weeks working out with speed guru Lee Taft in New York. Taft feels that a lot of people will be surprised by the former BYU superstar.

When he was asked what he thought would be so surprising, Taft responded, "I think it will be his athleticism, and they will be very surprised with his quickness and his speed."

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Last summer, when Jimmer declared for the draft but didn't hire an agent, he had the opportunity to workout with the New York Knicks.  

During the workout, he posted that year's third-fastest 3/4 sprint time for 2010 prospects. And this year, Taft says Jimmer has increased all his measurables by an average of three percent.

"People say that he's not fast or quick or athletic. No, he is very athletic. He is very quick. He is extremely gifted in the way he moves. He doesn't have a lot of hesitation in his move and they will be very impressed with his quickness."

Another concern for some is Jimmer's vertical jump (despite reports that BYU measured his vertical at 36 inches).

Taft doesn't think that should be a major priority with Jimmer, but said, "His game is skill with the ball. Balance, quickness, agility, body control, movement, creating angles and his quickness in execution. It isn't a primary focus to get his vertical 2 or 3 more inches; it does help as a by-product by the training we do."

If Jimmer shows up and gets measured at 36 or 37 inches on the vertical, people will be blown away and a lot of criticism will be put to rest.

He should also impress in terms of strength. That attribute is measured at the combine by the number of 185-pound bench press repetitions a prospect does.

"Jimmer did that 13 times without even practicing, and that's as good as most guards will do." said Taft.

We're going to learn a lot about Jimmer's future over the course of this week. The final draft order will be set tonight and Jimmer might move himself firmly into the top 10 after the pre-draft camp.

Right now, the Utah Jazz have the sixth-best chance to land this year's top overall pick. If they stay somewhere around that sixth-pick range, many have predicted they might take Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker.

If Jimmer performs as well as Lee Taft thinks he can at the pre-draft camp, the Jazz would have to think about taking him with their first lottery pick.

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