BYU basketball: Jimmer Fredette has college hoops world talking
After Tuesday night's 47-point explosion at the Huntsman Center, the whole country is saying the same thing: Find a way to watch Jimmer Fredette.
"Watch a Jimmer game ASAP. The amount of times you will get to see him get you out of your seat in college are quickly diminishing," wrote CBSSports.com blogger Matt Jones.
Jones criticized the relative obscurity of Mountain West Conference games due to the conference's television contracts. But he said that shouldn't stop viewers.
"Get out in front of the masses, upgrade your cable package and buy whatever version of the Home Shopping channel is showing his next game," Jones wrote. "I want us to share in this glory together and it is now your move."
ESPN.com college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan wrote about forcing his roommate to watch Fredette and the resulting consequences: "[Tuesday's game] launched him into an hour-long Jimmer Fredette research project. He wanted to know who BYU had beaten this season. He wanted to know how athletic their competition was. He wanted to see games when Jimmer had struggled, games when he'd excelled, and wanted to figure out the difference in opposing defensive styles in each. He wanted to see BYU play San Diego State, and he wanted to see them go deep in the tournament against athletic competition. He is, for lack of a better word, locked in on the Jimmer."
Fredette and the Cougars were all over ESPN on Wednesday morning, in fact. Fredette interviewed with ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt, was featured on SportsCenter and First Take and was ESPN's Andy Katz's pick for national collegiate player of the year.
"BYU now looks like a serious contender as a team that could go deep into the NCAA Tournament and maybe get to Houston [for the Final Four]," Katz said in an ESPN.com video. "Fredette can do that much for BYU and carry them in some big games."
While everyone marvels at Fredette's performance, some skeptics doubt the Cougars' chances on the national stage. ESPN and Basketball Prospectus writer John Gasaway wrote, "With both BYU and San Diego State currently ranked in the top 10 nationally, times are good for the Mountain West... Then again, with all due respect to the Mountain West, we've been here before. Through January, into February, and even in early March, the MWC typically has multiple teams that look really strong according to all the metrics I trust most. And then -- kaput."
Then there's a question of Fredette's NBA draft status. He declared for the draft last year but pulled out when teams were unwilling to give a solid commitment to picking him. This year, he's being mentioned as a possible lottery pick.
Local radio host and Jazz play-by-play voice David Locke wrote, "[Fredette] is a shot maker. Shot making is his NBA skill... However, projecting Jimmer as an NBA player is very difficult. Two issues impede making it a no-brainer, size and athleticism. Every player that I start to compare Jimmer to is two or three inches taller than he and that is an enormous amount in the NBA."
Locke also tweeted part of a discussion he had with an NBA scout, who said, "Look at the mutts you see in this league. This kid (Jimmer) can play. He is [former Cleveland Cavalier guard] Mark Price. I take him in the 1st [round]."
No matter where Fredette ends up, he's got the college basketball world taking notice. As March approaches, that notice will only increase -- for better or worse.
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