Utah Jazz notebook: Jimmer Fredette says he's not just a shooter
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — One of Jimmer Fredette's main goals during his workout tour of the NBA — five stops, including Utah on Wednesday — has been to show teams that he's not just a gunner with crazy range.
"That's what I wanted to do in these workouts was show that I'm a good basketball player," Fredette said. "Some people see ESPN. They see the long shots. They see me scoring the basketball, but they don't show often too many assists — and I've been doing that my whole career, being able to get the ball to the guy at the right time."
Sure, Fredette loves to shoot and score, but he's hoping to prove to naysayers that he isn't quite as limited and one-dimensional as they might think.
"I have a good basketball IQ to do that type of stuff," he added. "I'm looking forward to showing everybody I'm a complete player that can come in and really help a team right away."
General manager Kevin O'Connor — one of the main guys Fredette has tried to impress — wouldn't comment on whether or not the BYU star has succeeded in convincing the Jazz of that.
Though Fredette surprised Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin with his quickness and defensive skills, O'Connor offered a "no comment" when asked if the Jazz deemed The Jimmer to be a complete player and not just an offensive whiz kid.
O'Connor said the Jazz's interview with Jimmer went well in Chicago last month, and the organization likes that he is comfortable with himself.
"We really like the maturity level that he had," he added.
Fredette said he treated Wednesday's workout — and the other four he did — like an interview. He also just wanted to show teams what kind of a well-rounded player he believes he is.
"I go out there and I know if I play my game then I'm going to be all right.. If you go out there and do things you can't do you're going to look bad you're going to be exposed," Fredette said. "I just went out there and told myself, 'Be Jimmer. Go out there and play and have fun.' "
STAR-STUDDED SHOWDOWN: Fredette was happy to finally get a chance to play Walker after their paths never crossed during their college careers.
"It was great to be able to go against (Walker). That's what you want. You want to play against the best — at least I do," Fredette said. "I want to go out there and compete against the best players. I think it brings my level of game up, because I know if I don't play well he's going to kill ya. So I've got to go out there and play as hard as I can, and I like that type of pressure."
So, who won the Jimmer-Kemba battle?
"It was good. We were going at each other. I thought it went very, very well," Fredette said. "I played my game, scored the ball well and played really good defense, so let's keep it at that."
Added Walker: "I think we both did a great job of impressing these guys today."
HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE?: Walker admitted Fredette might have had a bit of an edge on him Wednesday. It wasn't due to dozens of people, including the BYU coaching staff, being there to watch Jimmer's every move.
It was because Fredette knows what it's like to play in the mountain air. The UConn star said the altitude got to him.
"We all went to get something to drink and I'm like, 'Man, I'm tired,' " Walker said with a chuckle. "And he's like, 'I told ya.' "
UTAH JAZZED?: Walker said he got off to a slow start Wednesday but improved as the workout went along.
Despite struggling at first in the high altitude, the 6-1 guard would be sky-high to end up with the Jazz.
"I feel like I have a great vibe with the team and the staff," Walker said. "Hopefully, I can come to Utah. This team's a little different. They run different sets and stuff. I think I'd be able to adapt to this team."
GROUP EFFORT: The Jazz GM was complimentary of all six players who left it on the court for this evaluation, including Fredette, Walker, Alabama guard Senario Hillman, UCLA guard Malcolm Lee, Illinois-Chicago forward Paul Carter and Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson.
"It was a job interview and I thought all of them took it that way," O'Connor said. "It was a terrific workout."
One thing that factored into that, according to O'Connor, was that the six athletes completed at least three years of college. He liked that the older group took it seriously and business-like after working the players, especially Fredette and Walker, who earned accolades and awards by working their way up the so-called totem pole.
"Our history," O'Connor said, "has been guys that have succeeded like that usually do well."
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