Remarkably (especially in hindsight), BYU was the only big school to offer Fredette a scholarship. "I was the white kid from a small town who played in the small-school competition and didn't get exposure in the big city," says Fredette.
Rose was tipped off about Fredette and began watching him play as a sophomore. That summer Fredette flew to Provo to participate in Rose's camp. After that, Rose was convinced Fredette was a player worth pursuing. BYU coaches watched him play football and basketball and then offered him a scholarship as a junior.
"We were fortunate to get him," says Rose.
Following Jimmer's junior season, T.J. worried that the attention and pressure that came with success might have taken its toll on his brother. "I wanted to find out if he was still enjoying it and still had the same dream," says T.J.
So he wrote a contract and took it to one of their practice sessions at the church. He asked his brother about his feelings for the game. When Jimmer assured him that he still loved basketball and was still committed to their NBA dream, T.J. placed the contract on the table. It read: "I, James Fredette, am going to do everything I can to reach my ultimate goal of reaching the NBA." Then they both signed it.
Rose, among others, believes Fredette has what it takes to succeed at the next level if the right team drafts him. "I watched him play this summer with the USA team against the NBA players, and he was very comfortable on the floor," Rose says. "He was able to score in those games very similarly to what he does at this (college) level. He could score deep, although he couldn't go quite as deep because of their size. But he could pull up at 4 feet or 12 feet or 23 feet and score."
The next few months will tell if Jimmer's dream — and his brother's dream for him — is realized. T.J., an unemployed, self-described "broke artist," is a budding rapper who has cut four CDs and recently signed with a manager. One of his songs, called "Amazing," tells his brother's basketball story (you can hear and watch it performed on tjfredette.com). The song begins, "It's been about 21 years, but back when you were younger
I did everything I could as an older brother / to get you to understand that you were given a gift so with each other we would muster up a plan to succeed with one another ..."
All the long hours that Jimmer spent in the church gym, performing all those drills with T.J. and his Uncle Lee and Al, seem likely to be rewarded. In a few months, Jimmer probably will be chosen high in the NBA and sign a rich NBA contract. Jimmer shakes his head thinking about it all.
"It's weird," he says. "I never had that kind of money. I'm a young kid. To be thinking about making that kind of money is surreal. I got my first car only last year. I walked everywhere the first two years here."
"He's a good kid and very humble," says T.J. "That's one of my jobs — to make sure he stays humble."
Jimmer and T.J. talk and text several times a week, and their favorite subject of course is basketball. "He knows my game better than anyone," says Jimmer. "He still gives me pointers — things I need to work on."
No one will be happier than T.J. if his little brother is able to fulfill his dreams for him. "I always wanted to play big-time basketball," he says. "Seeing Jimmer do it is almost like doing it myself."
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