Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette's latest frontier — officiating
The answer is yes, to all, according to a veteran college official I spoke with on Monday while researching to understand the dynamics of officiating and their approach to games and star players.
He made the following points:
Officials enter a game wanting as little as possible to do with outcome of the game. Then they step in to "manage" the game by calling the obvious. Then it becomes more management. Managing a Fredette game is very hard.
Coaches and officials like it when they can keep a certain player's number out of the books, and they do it for both sides. Fredette falls into this category.
Coaches want every call in their favor, but appreciate officials who may forgo a call, but warn players if it happens again, they will be whistled. Good officials do that for both sides. Jimmer and his defenders have to be talked to.
Officials have to react to "airborne" fouls where an offensive player's health is vulnerable. Other musts are "head shots" and "neon light" calls that you just have to whistle because it is so blatant and obvious. Fredette gets airborne a lot.
If a "type of call" is made on one end, coaches and referees like to see that "type of call" made on the other end. If Jimmer receives a call, Jiggy should receive the same.
Coaches hate picky, little hand-checking and traveling calls because they take away a possession over something usually meaningless. With Fredette, how much a defender's hands on his hip should be allowed as control advantage is a challenge? Frequently putting Fredette on the free-throw line can change a game.
Officials do react to whining and crying over calls by players. Such behavior shows them up and it can lead to a technical foul or could result in allowing physical play on that player.
So, there, I dipped my toe into a pool usually best left without ripples.
It is hard to officiate a game with Fredette, who is the face of college basketball today. He's a volatile commodity because in BYU's offense he possesses the ball more than 60 percent of the time.
Fredette is likely to get more calls at home (16-for-16 free throws vs. UNLV) than on the road (2-of-5 free throws vs. New Mexico.) Yet, he made 16-of-17 on the road at Colorado State.
And if increasing physical play by opposing defenders frustrates the Jimmer and the Jimmer gets emotional, it will likely backfire on him immediately or in an upcoming game with either the same crew or others.
Here's the dilemma: Fredette has gone harder to the floor in the Air Force and Utah games than any two back-to-back games this season. Second-time-around games in league play are becoming tougher and tougher.
It is the same with officiating, a fascinating matrix.
Call it Jimmer's latest frontier.
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