Mike Terry, Deseret News
PROVO — Dave Rose is often asked about the expectations he had five years ago when he signed Jimmer Fredette, a little-known guard from a small high school in upstate New York, to play basketball for BYU.
Rose, beginning his sixth season as the Cougars head coach today, consistently refuses to shortchange his recruiting proficiency with an answer similar to the one he gave last week when asked the question again.
"Every recruit that we sign, we expect to be an all-league player when we sign them. Anything after that really kind of depends on how early in their career that happens.
"With Jimmer, when you become first-team all-league in this league as a sophomore and then you have a great junior year, you have a chance to get some national awards. But this is pretty impressive. I mean this is very impressive. I'm impressed," Rose said of the many preseason All-American honors that Fredette has garnered.
Others, however, insist that Fredette's level of prominence at BYU is surprising, especially considering that BYU's only competition for the Glens Falls, N.Y., product was really Sienna — even though Fredette set several school, league and state scoring records in high school.
"I didn't have any problem with it because I knew I was from a smaller school and that I wouldn't be heavily recruited," Fredette said. "Plus, I still knew I could play with all those other players."
While Fredette may be exceeding the expectations of some, he's right on course with his own. His determination, drive and confidence are big reasons why he begins his final season at BYU tonight, when the Cougars host Fresno State in the Marriott Center, as one of the nation's most recognized point guards.
"This is exactly where I always wanted to be and where I thought I'd be. I always had a goal to get better every year and to always have an impact on a team. In my mind, this is where I always saw myself being. I think that's what has always helped me be so driven," he said.
Fredette is coming off a season in which he averaged more than 22 points and nearly five assists per game. He scored more than 30 in a game eight times last year, including the school-record 49 he poured on Arizona and the 37 he dumped on Florida in a first-round NCAA Tournament win.
He's projected to be a first-round NBA draft pick next summer. To Fredette, that's just another step on his planned-out basketball journey.
"I've only ever seen myself doing that. It's the only occupation I have ever seen myself doing," he said.
Fredette is at BYU partly because it's the program he targeted early in high school. He is LDS (father Al is Mormon, mother Kay is not) and his sister Lindsey (now married and living in Taylorsville) ventured west a few years earlier to attend BYU and adapted well to the transition.
It was at a BYU summer camp where Rose and his staff first saw Fredette play.
"They didn't know anything about me, especially since I came from a small town all the way across the country. But they liked what they saw and started to fly back to watch me play football and basketball. They followed me in my AAU competition and then offered me after my junior year," Fredette said.
Accepting BYU's offer was an easy decision.
"I just felt good when I came out, about the team, the coaching staff and the direction the program was going and my chances of being able to come in and play right away," he said.
Among those not surprised by Fredette's accomplishments are his early BYU teammates — Nick Martineau and Chris Collinsworth, who witnessed Fredette score at will on BYU's veteran players in his first summer of open-gym games in Provo.
"Right there and then I knew he was going to be really good," Collinsworth said.
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