PROVO — Unless BYU guard Jimmer Fredette gets some assurance that he'll be a first-round pick, he'll likely return to the Cougars for his senior season.
"The hope is to probably come back unless something happens. … I would have to have a very solid, concrete guarantee (of being picked) probably in the first round," Fredette said Tuesday.
Fredette declared for the NBA draft on Monday but is maintaining his college eligibility by not hiring an agent. For now, only BYU coach Dave Rose and Fredette himself can have contact with NBA teams. He can work out for NBA scouts from April 28 to May 8. He would have to remove his name from the draft by May 8 in order to return to BYU.
"I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to get some workouts. … there's going to be a lot of discussion between Coach and I about where I'll be going," he said.
Fredette said there are two main reasons he declared for the draft. Mainly, he wants an assessment of where he stands as an NBA prospect and wants feedback on where he needs to improve.
"It's more for going for the experience and getting feedback and to prepare myself to be a better basketball player," he said.
However, he also hopes to increase his NBA stock — through pre-draft workouts with NBA teams — to that of a first-round pick, whether it's this year or next.
"My goal is to play in the NBA, so if I can get a first-round pick, then I want to do that. That's something I've wanted to do my whole life," Fredette said.
As for Fredette's NBA potential, most scouts look at the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder as a combination Deron Williams/Steve Nash-type point guard — who can shoot from outside, but also get into the paint and score with a variety of awkward-looking moves.
To play in the NBA, however, he must learn to defend and stay in front of the quicker point guards. Fredette recognizes that that's a concern of NBA scouts.
"They're all very quick and athletic, and not very many people can stay in front of them anyway," he said.
Ironically, Fredette's potential departure from BYU could come after Jack Diamond, the mayor of Glens Falls, N.Y., Fredette's hometown, has secured a game on Dec. 8 at the Glens Falls Civic Center between BYU and Vermont. But Fredette knows his supporters back home have his best interests at heart.
"I think (Diamond) will be excited as well, whatever the decision is. He did a great job of getting that game back there and it would be an exciting thing for me," Fredette said.
Coming back to BYU, to a team that won 30 games this past season, and a chance to firm up his name as one of the school's all-time basketball greats — he averaged a team-leading 22.1 points per game this year as a junior after averaging 16.2 ppg last year as a sophomore — is a pretty comfortable fall-back plan.
"We'll have an extremely talented team, and I think we could have a really good year. And that game in Glens Falls, obviously, would be amazing for me and our fans back home," Fredette said.