Kings coach Paul Westphal sees Jimmer Fredette as great fit for Kings

By Jason Jones

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Friday, June 24 2011 1:05 p.m. MDT

Jimmermania is on its way to Sacramento.

On a day that began with the Kings bringing back a familiar face, the biggest news was the Kings acquiring Jimmer Fredette, the BYU star and star of many YouTube clips in the first round of the NBA draft.

Fredette might have been the most popular player in college basketball last season, hence Jimmermania and the following that he developed nationwide.

Fredette was selected 10th by Milwaukee, then traded as part of a three-team deal that sent guard Beno Udrih to Milwaukee and brought John Salmons back to the Kings. As part of the deal, the Kings relinquished their seventh pick to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Fredette had to wait for the deal to be made official before he could speak to the media. The wait was more than two hours, and by time the draft was over, he wasn't made available by his camp to local media via conference call from New York.

Fredette told reporters in New York the attention he's received leading up to the draft is nothing new.

"I think a lot of it just has to do with this last year in college," Fredette said. "How things exploded and the media just really took a hold of our season and myself, and it's continuing."

In addition to adding Fredette, the trade helped the Kings at small forward.

"(Salmons) had long stretches where he was probably our best player ... better than the ones we've had recently," said Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie. "And I think with Jimmer, we get one of the most exciting players in college basketball."

Fredette averaged 28.9 points as a senior and was the consensus National Player of the Year. Fredette arguably had the best range of any shooter in the draft.

Fredette, who made 39.6 percent of his three-point attempts last season, will be expected to play significant minutes as a rookie now that Udrih has gone to Milwaukee.

"We think he'll fit in really well with our roster," said Kings coach Paul Westphal of Fredette. "I hesitate to say until we get out there and get after it, but I think of him as a point guard. He plays the pick-and-roll really well. He's a good passer, obviously he's a great shooter."

For those wondering, Fredette's given name is James, but he said his mother has always called him Jimmer, and that's the name he's gone by.

The addition of Fredette became the obvious choice after the Kings completed a trade earlier Thursday.

Salmons joined the Kings as a free agent in 2006 before being traded to Chicago in 2009.

Salmons averaged 18.3 points in his last season with the Kings in 53 games before being dealt to the Bulls.

The Kings are hoping Salmons can be the consistent three-point shooter and defender the Kings have been seeking.

"I think he's going to help us tremendously," Westphal said.

Charlotte used the seventh selection they got from the Kings on power forward Bismack Biyombo from Congo. The Bucks used the 19th pick on Tennessee forward Tobias Harris.

The Kings used the first of their two second-round picks on UCLA small forward Tyler Honeycutt. He is noted for being a good passer and defender.

Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a sophomore for the Bruins and was a first-team All-Pacific-10 selection.

Honeycutt has some experience playing alongside Fredette. They were a part of the June 9 predraft workout with the Kings.

"It's crazy," Honeycutt said. "They actually had us team up together when we did some of the 3-on-3 stuff, and we did well together."

Honeycutt said falling to the second round was "surprising," but said it is a blessing in disguise.

Honeycutt is from Los Angeles, which keeps him fairly close to home and will allow his mother, Lisa Stazel, to be at his games.

Honeycutt said his mother took his drop to the second round harder than he did.

"My mother was very upset like any mother, felt I deserved better," Honeycutt said. "I just told her just to hang in there, and you're going to make the best of it."

The Kings used the 60th pick and final selection of the draft on Washington guard Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas averaged 16.4 points as a junior and was a first-team All-Pac 10 selection.

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