Courtesy Travis Hansen
PROVO — Jimmer Fredette and I became friends in August 2010 right before his explosive senior year at BYU. When I heard he was in town, we arranged to catch up and chat about his recent engagement, the NBA lockout and what his plans are for the future. Needless to say, Jimmer is an amazing basketball player and more importantly a great person. It was fun to catch up. Here is part of our conversation.
Travis: How's life after BYU?
Jimmer: It's been great. It's definitely a little different. You know, I haven't really got to start my new career yet, so it almost feels like I'm still at BYU even though I'm not going to classes and I'm not part of the basketball team.
Travis: What did you do after getting drafted?
Jimmer: I was able to go back to New York for a couple weeks and relax with my family, my friends and my fiancé — now fiancé — and that was good. A couple weeks later, I started to go all over the country doing different things; I went to the ESPYs, a celebrity golf tournament in Tahoe and a bunch of different stuff. It was a fun time, really great. I had great experiences and I met some unbelievable people, great athletes and famous people. Then I went back to New York in August. I ran a camp at my high school. Then I came back out here [to Utah] and I have been here ever since just working out basically.
Travis: How do you keep in shape?
Jimmer: You know, it's a grind. You've got to go out and practice. I always work out two times a day. In the morning I will go do my lifting and my explosive drills and conditioning. Then in the afternoons I will do all my basketball skill work. It's a good contrast. The biggest part about it is normally the off-season would be over now, but you need to continue to work as if it's the off-season, to keep yourself motivated and get better even though you're not playing or practicing.
Travis: What are your thoughts on the NBA lockout?
Jimmer: It's definitely tough, especially as an incoming rookie. You want to get your career started, to be in the NBA and fulfill your dream, but it's just on hold right now. I hope that both sides come to an agreement fairly soon and I hope that it's a good deal for both sides. Hopefully, they will come to an agreement soon … and we can start playing basketball again.
Travis: What are you going to do if the NBA locks out all season?
Jimmer: I am not 100 percent sure yet, I will have to wait and see. I am just waiting it out. By the end of December or January we will know if the season's going to be over. If it is over then I think a lot of people will have to look elsewhere to play basketball, whether they play here in the U.S. or if there's something overseas. So that is something that we will have to worry about once the season is completely over.
Travis: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Jimmer: Hopefully, I'll still be in the NBA, but finishing up my career. I don't know what NBA team I will be on (at that point), but hopefully I will have started a family. When my career is over, settle down in a nice area, maybe in Denver or somewhere in New York.
Travis: You touched on your fiancé a little bit — do you mind telling us how you got engaged and when that happened?
Jimmer: It happened on Aug. 29, when I went to a golf tournament at Jon Huntsman's private golf course up in Driggs, Idaho. I told her (Whitney Wonnacott) I was getting back to Provo a lot later than I actually was getting back, so she wasn't expecting to see me that day. I had my sister in on the plan and told her to have Whitney meet her at the house that I am staying at right now (in Provo), knowing that Whitney would come. When she got to my house, there was a little note on the bed that read, 'There is present outside for you. Sorry I couldn't get back. You've got to go and find it." She went outside and there was actually a present out there. I bought her a little pair of shoes. While this was happening, I was in the house. When they both returned to the room, I was there on my knee. She said "yes" and the rest is history. It was a great night.
Travis: You are so romantic. [laughs]
Jimmer: Yeah, that's right. [laughs] I had to plan it out perfectly because she wanted to be surprised, but she always knows everything that happens before it happens. She knows all of the presents she's going to get for birthdays and Christmas, so I made sure to plan it out perfectly so she didn't know.
Travis: When are you getting married?
Jimmer: On June 1, 2012, in the Denver LDS Temple. We're really excited about that.
Travis: Why Denver?
Jimmer: She's from Littleton, Colo., about 20 minutes outside of Denver, so that's where we decided to go.
Travis: What can you tell me about her? I'm sure people are interested in her.
Jimmer: She's very outgoing and really funny. She was a national champion in equestrian riding when she was younger. She was sought after by a lot of different schools to go to college on a full-ride scholarship to do equestrian, like Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. She was thinking about doing that but decided she wanted to go to BYU. She loved BYU and her family has loved BYU ever since she has been born. Her parents go to every football game and all the basketball games, so she wanted to come here and be a part of that.
Travis: Will she stay in school and finish her degree or go with you to Sacramento?
Jimmer: She will graduate in April and then go back to Denver to start getting everything ready for the wedding. She will come and visit whenever she can. So that's how we're going to have to do it until June 1.
Travis: How is BYU going to do this year?
Jimmer: I think they are going to do really well and surprise a lot of people. They are very big and athletic. They can run the floor really well. They have a lot of guys that can play and they are really deep. They will be very, very good and I am excited to watch them play.
Travis: What would you say to kids that play video games?
Jimmer: Go outside and be active. Video games are fun every once in a while. They are fun to play, especially if your friends are all there. But I when I grew up I didn't play really any video games. I was always outside trying to be active, playing with friends and neighborhood kids, playing any types of games you can think of outside. My parents really encouraged that. So I would tell people to go outside and play with your friends, have fun and think of new games and things you can do outside because that's where the most fun happens. You will be able to stay in shape and you will feel good about yourself.
Travis: Better rapper — Eminem or TJ?
Jimmer: (laughing) Well, TJ is my brother so I've gotta go with TJ 'cause I'm biased, but Eminem is one of my favorite rappers of all time. That would be great if they could do a song together. Yeah, that would great, huh?
Travis: Favorite song?
Jimmer: A song that is not by my brother? It would have to be "Victory 2004" with Biggy, 50 cent, and those guys. It gets me pumped up.
Travis: Best place to eat in Utah Valley?
Jimmer: I'd have to say my favorite is probably Tucanos. Outside Utah Valley, I'd go to Brio.
Travis: Advice for young athletes?
Jimmer: I would tell them to dream big. If you work as hard as you can and really believe in yourself, then you can accomplish anything. It doesn't matter where you are from or what high school you went to, you can still accomplish your dreams. I'm from a small high school in upstate New York and not many people knew about me, but I had a dream, went out and worked as hard as I could for it and accomplished it.
Travis: What were you for Halloween?
Jimmer: My fiancé was Cruella de Vil and I was one of the 101 dalmations ... she talked me into this one!
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