Mike Sorensen: Jimmer Fredette, Deron Williams talk golf and hoops
SALT LAKE CITY — It was a perfect opportunity to talk to the two best point guards ever to play in Utah, certainly the two best to play here since John Stockton retired.
BYU guard Jimmer Fredette and former Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams were both scheduled to be on the same conference call Wednesday morning to promote next month's American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe in Nevada (July 15-17).
This is the golf tournament that Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley play in every year along with many other former sports stars such as Jerry Rice and John Elway and current athletes such as Jason Kidd and Aaron Rodgers.
Both Fredette and Williams are first-timers (Fredette is the first-ever collegian), along with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, NFL players Tim Tebow and Arian Foster and former Major League Baseball pitchers Tom Glavine and Andy Pettitte.
When 11 o'clock rolled around Wednesday, Jimmer was ready and waiting, but Deron was nowhere to be found. Perhaps he'd heard there would be a writer from Utah on the line who might ask him about his feelings on being traded to New Jersey three months ago.
Anyway, Fredette was on the phone to answer questions about his golf game, his pre-draft workouts, the NBA lockout, his defensive liabilities and even one about a creative left-handed 3-point buzzer-beater he once made in high school and whether his basketball creativity will carry over to the golf course next month. Really.
Of course, Fredette was gracious through all of the questions, silly and otherwise, at least he was until one of his handlers interrupted the conference, 20 minutes in and said it was time to wrap it up. So those of us in the queue, waiting to ask questions, never got the chance.
I wanted to ask him what his best score ever was on the golf course. He broke 50 on the basketball court last year when he dumped 52 on New Mexico in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and I wanted to make sure he could break 50 the other way, for nine holes of golf. The way he described his golf game ("I'm not a regular golfer ... I need to work on my driving so it doesn't hook so much"), I wasn't sure.
I also wanted to ask him about his upcoming workout with the Jazz and whether he might feel any extra pressure if he was drafted by Utah rather than some place far, far away from here. But he had other places to be.
Disappointed to have missed Williams, I called the PR guy in charge of the call, who told me Williams had gotten mixed up on the time zones (he was in San Diego). And since I was the only one to call back, the PR person arranged for me to talk one-on-one with the former Jazz star a few minutes later.
I warmed him up with a question about the tournament and Williams replied, "I'm excited man. I've heard a lot about it. I'm a member here at Santaluz (Club) in San Diego with Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller and Chris Chandler, and they've been telling me all about it. I'm really looking forward to it."
Williams said he's "improving" and "decent" at golf and that he's down to about a 10 handicap now. "Golf is a humbling game, but I'm working at it," he said.
On Jimmer, he said, "I've never met him, but I went and saw him play. I'm a big fan of his. I think he's a great player."
When I asked him if Fredette had a good chance to play in the NBA, Williams said, "Definitely. I see him getting drafted in the first round and playing in the NBA. It depends on how he decides to work and getting in the right situation for him. Hopefully he can have a great NBA career."
Finally, I had to ask Williams about his surprise trade from the Jazz in February. He wasn't as excited talking about that as his golf game.
"It's over and done with now — no reason to talk about it," he said. "It is what it is. Best of luck to the Utah Jazz and their franchise. They got some good draft picks for me, so hopefully they pan out for them."
Williams did say he would be back in Utah this summer to play in the member-guest tournament at the Glenwild Golf Club near Park City in July.
Neither Fredette nor Williams expects to do well in the tournament, which features a purse of $600,000 with a first prize of $125,000.
Of course being in Nevada, the tournament has odds for each of the 80 players with Elway listed as one of the favorites at 10-1, along with Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo (5-2) and former Braves' pitcher John Smoltz (5-1).
Fredette is a 40-1 choice on the betting lines, which seems a bit generous after hearing him describe his game on the links. It's the same odds as Jordan, who one time had aspirations of playing on the PGA Tour, but much better than Barkley and his infamous golf swing, who is listed at 500-1.
When asked about the odds, Fredette said he was a lot closer to Barkley than Jordan and said he hoped his finished "in the middle of the pack" and not in last place.
Williams is a 100-1 betting choice, despite his 10-handicap and the time he works on his game every offseason. When told about the odds, Williams laughed and said, "I'd say about 1,000-1."
Even though they won't win, Williams and Fredette should have a good time playing golf next month at Lake Tahoe. Who knows, perhaps we'll see them on the court at the same time next winter when New Jersey comes to town to play the Utah Jazz.
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