Brad Rock: Brad Rock: Jimmer does it the way we all would
PROVO — The guy in front of me has no chance. Not a wisp of a haze of a prayer. If I fake, he stumbles like he stepped sideways off a curb. If I pull up off the dribble, his arms go windmilling back. But if he comes close, where I can see his eyes twitching, I nail the crossover and I'm gone.
I hit a floater in the lane, scoop in an underhand shot, double-clutch in traffic. I cast off from six feet beyond ridiculous.
They double-team and sometimes triple-team me.
And still the points ring up.
I get to shoot whenever, wherever I want.
I get a standing ovation before the game when they acknowledge the seniors and after when we cut down the nets — and everywhere in between. I finish with dozens of points, then help cut down the nets after winning a conference championship.
This, of course, is only how it happens in my sleep.
I get to do it in dreamland; Jimmer Fredette gets to do it in real life.
Fredette said farewell to the Marriott Center Saturday in typical style: 38 points in a 102-78 BYU win over Wyoming. His best day? Not even close. But very good. After a mediocre 4-11 shooting performance in the first half, he finished by making eight of his final 13 in a 102-78 rout of Wyoming.
"Great way to go out," he said.
Wyoming did its best to hold back the tide. It tried several players guarding him — usually more than one at a time — and stayed in his face. They bumped, grabbed, kneed and nudged. It even worked for awhile. That's how it's been for the second half of the season. Coaches aren't dumb. They've seen other teams mug Fredette and get away with it, and sometimes they can even get him distracted.
But not for long. One glance he's 4-for-11, next time he's pushing 40 points.
"It's been very, very physical," said Fredette of the second half of the season. "They try to body up as much as they can, be as physical as they can, do whatever they can to get the ball out of my hands or stop this team's flow."
Too bad even that seldom works.
It was not without consternation the Cougars entered Saturday's game, knowing they had lost convincingly to New Mexico last time out. The Lobos had figured them out. Meanwhile, Fredette's shooting touch has been off. Before Saturday, he had made just 61 of his last 161 shots (38 percent).
As helpful as Jackson Emery, Noah Hartsock, Charles Abouo, etc. have been, opponents have known their only chance at beating BYU was containing Fredette. That's because even in the games in which he doesn't score particularly well — for him that's 20 points — it's the threat that takes the toll.
Most nights it's more than a threat.
As he bids farewell to the Marriott Center, Fredette isn't just BYU's best player, he rates among its all-time best. He's now just two points from the single season scoring mark, set by Devin Durrant. He already owns the season and career marks for 3-point baskets and 30-point games.
Equally important, he has played in more wins than any other BYU player.
"Jimmer came here as a very good player and he's leaving as a special player," said coach Dave Rose.
Maybe more than the numbers, though, has been the style. Nobody has had more fun. He shoots as soon as he crosses the time line. He howls down the lane and tosses up improbable double-clutching shots. He rises from mid-range, breaks ankles with his crossover, draws the foul. In one game he even hit a half-court shot.
Later he credits his teammates for setting him up and acts about as normal as a player-of-the-year candidate can.
"Unbelievable time here and great career, it's been a lot of fun," he said.
In short, he does it just the way all of us would — if if only we were All-Americans.
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