BYU basketball: Jimmer Fredette ready to lead Cougars

Published: Thursday, Nov. 11 2010 10:16 p.m. MST

Martineau, Fredette's first BYU roommate, immediately saw something special.

"I knew he had a lot of talent, but he's just exploded with it," Martineau said.

Did BYU's coaches see the same things early on?

"I think they had faith in the beginning that I'd be good, but I don't think they knew that I could become the type of player that I am right now," Fredette said.

That type of player is one with an offensive arsenal that teams struggle to defend, and one who compliments backcourt mate Jackson Emery perfectly.

"He's really good at one-on-one basketball, but he's also really good at responding to a double team and finding the open guy," Emery said. "He's fun to watch because he's unexpecting. You never know what he's going to do."

It's been well chronicled how Fredette toughened his skills in high school by playing in weekend games against jail inmates. He's also benefited from the services of his uncle Lee Taft, a respected personal trainer in New York. Actually, he credits most of his success to family support, especially from older brother T. J. — who recognized the potential in little brother early on.

Fredette learned a lot about his game after last season when he briefly tested the NBA waters and worked out for several NBA teams. He believes he silenced critics who claim his defensive skills are a liability to an NBA career.

"They saw that I can play defense at that level. ... I've been working and training as hard as I've ever done before, so I can stay in a defensive stance longer and move laterally quicker. I'm in the best condition I've ever been in," he said.

Another confidence builder came last summer when Fredette spent two weeks at the USA Basketball Camp in Las Vegas, practicing and scrimmaging with the nation's top college players and the NBA's top point guards.

"That all helped settle him down to understand that he is one of the premier guards in the country," Rose said.

That label also means the Cougars will be a marked team, and Fredette a marked man, every time BYU takes the court.

"I think one of the things that Jimmer's really excited about is the talent that he has around him and how those guys will be really important to his success," Rose said.

With the Cougars shedding the monkey off their backs with last year's first-round NCAA Tournament win, their goals are higher this season. Fredette wants to leave BYU with a Mountain West Conference Tournament title under his belt, and a postseason trip to at least the Sweet 16.

"I'm excited to get this season started. I think we could have an extremely good team, maybe the best since I've been here at BYU," he said.

e-mail: jimr@desnews.com

Cougars on the air

BYU vs. Fresno State

Today, 7 p.m.

Marriott Center

TV: None Radio: 1160 AM 102.7 FMFredette's records

* Holds scoring mark at Glens Falls High with 2,404 career points

* 7th on New York's all-time prep scoring list

* 1st team All-MWC as a sophomore at BYU

* 1st team All-MWC, District VIII player of the year as a junior

* Named on five All-American teams as junior

* Member of 2010 USA Basketball's Select Team

* Scored a BYU-record 49 pts at Arizona on Dec. 29, 2009

* Scored 751 pts in 2009-10, 4th all-time for one season

* Has scored 1,531 career points at BYU, 11th all time

* MWC preseason player of the year in 2009 and 2010

* Named 1st team on 6 preseason 2010-11 All-American teamsHeady

TextCougars on the air

BYU vs. Fresno State

Today, 7 p.m.

Marriott Center

TV: None

Radio: KSL 1160 AM 102.7 FM

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